hi. i’m janine, and i’m a perfectionist. at least i was… now i’m in recovery.
around the age of 10, i became a perfectionist as a way to cope with my parents’ divorce.
for years i dealt with low self-esteem due to the fact that i could never live up to the standards that i had set for myself. i always felt a failure in school, even though i got a’s and b’s and went to an ivy league college.
i felt very lonely and isolated. i thought, “why would anyone want to be friends with me,” despite the many friends and boyfriends that i actually had.
fast forward 13 years to 1995 when i discovered yoga. i studied iyengar yoga which really appealed to my perfectionism since it requires extreme precision in the alignment of the yoga poses. clearly there was only one “right” way to perform them (or so i thought) and you just had to keep moving toward that ultimate “perfect” pose.
i would get so stuck in my head, constantly giving myself commands about how to perform the pose better, more correctly, more perfect. of course i would get so immersed in what i was doing wrong, and trying to fix it, that i couldn’t be present in the pose and enjoy the moment; the strength and openness that the poses created was lost in my critical, perfectionist mind.
what had initially appealed to my perfectionist sensibilities eventually became a huge hindrance to my ability to grow and change.
about 3 years later i found out about vinyasa yoga, a flow style of yoga that uses the breath to move from one position to the next. the clouds parted, the angels started singing, i’d found freedom.
my body knew what it was supposed to do, but i didn’t have to dwell on it; i could flow and move into and out of the poses without feeling stuck in my head; i didn’t have time to be critical or judging when i was focusing on my breath. i was able to be present and it was such a relief.
that being said, i’ve always valued what i learned from studying iyengar yoga. the precision, the deep understanding of alignment and the energetic movement within each asana has informed my vinyasa practice in a way that has been profound. i never would have experienced the freedom without it.
i feel i am a better vinyasa practitioner and instructor because of my iyengar training, as i’m able to keep my students safer and more aware of their bodies as they move through the poses. i am able to give them precise alignment cues while helping them stay present, releasing them from the stress of “doing it wrong,” and allowing them to “do the best with what they have.”
i’ve learned that you can be precise without needing to be perfect. you do the best you can on any given day and that is plenty; the best you can do is exactly right. live up to your potential without forcing yourself to be perfect; there is no perfect, there is only you and you are enough.
over the last almost 20 years of practicing yoga my self-esteem has improved as i’ve developed more self-acceptance. i am able to live more fully with my body and mind just as they are. yoga has taught me to be kinder and more forgiving of myself and has brought me to a place where, 32 years after it began, i was able to let go of the need for perfection in my life and see the beauty in what is.
am i perfect? no, and no matter what i do i never will be. and that’s okay with me.
janine l. agoglia maom, l.ac., dipl. ac, dipl. ch is a licensed acupuncturist and chinese herbalist who has been practicing at integrative therapeutics in natick, ma since 2003. she graduated from the new england school of acupuncture with a master’s degree in acupuncture and oriental medicine and practices a combination of chinese, japanese and korean acupuncture as well as chinese herbal medicine and chinese dietary therapy.
janine believes in an holistic approach to health and wellness. in addition to addressing patient symptoms she helps each patient look at his or her lifestyle, emotional state, exercise, diet and stress levels, so that she and her patient can work together to move the patient toward their optimum picture of health. janine believes that she and her patients are a team, working together for the common goal of creating better health and overall well being. her passion is to help each person feel better in his or her daily life and to help each patient overcome their particular health challenge(s), be it pain, women’s health issues, respiratory problems, gastrointestinal problems, stress, anxiety or any other health issue that they are struggling to conquer.
in 2008 janine co-founded veterans acupuncture care (vac) metrowest, a community-style acupuncture clinic that offers free acupuncture to veterans, active military, first responders (active and retired) and their family members. the purpose of this clinic is to offer free stress and trauma relief to this underserved population. for more information on this clinic visit www.vacmetrowest.com.
janine is also a certified yoga instructor and has been teaching vinyasa yoga since 1998. her background as a modern dancer adds creativity to her unique style of vinyasa yoga. she allows her students to be free to listen to their own bodies, while exploring all the benefits that yoga has to offer: breath, movement, strength, flexibility and inner calm. in 2005 she created a dvd called vinyasa yoga for regular people so that her students could continue their practice at home when they couldn’t make it to class. janine also gives private lessons, adjusting each person’s practice to best fulfill their needs. to order, please visit www.acuyogamama.com.