What if you did any amount?


We were on our mats with one leg nestled underneath us and the other out in front. We’d just gotten into the basic posture and then my teacher, Rodney Yee, said, “Straighten your front leg any amount.”

He didn’t say straighten your front leg.

He didn’t say get that leg as straight as you possibly can.

He didn’t say get it perfectly straight.

He didn’t say if your leg isn’t straight you might as well not bother because that means you suck at yoga and life.

He said any amount.

I felt instantly more relaxed. I felt instantly more hopeful about my hamstrings. I felt held. I felt like I was enough.

How often have you not done something because you didn’t think you could do it perfectly?

Our obsessed-with-achievement culture has us feeling like if it’s not perfect, don’t bother.

We’ve lost touch with the joy of just a little, with the satisfaction of one step in the right direction, with the beauty of slow progress, and the value of making any amount of effort.

Going to yoga and straightening your leg any amount is better than not going to yoga because you can’t get your legs perfectly straight. I guarantee you’ll get more health and emotional benefits from practicing with less-than-perfectly-straight legs than you will from staying at home on the couch or at your desk.

Any amount.

Any amount is better than nothing. twitter-logo

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Any amount of kindness is better than no kindness. Any amount of compassion is better than no compassion. Any amount of learning is better than no learning. Any amount of effort is better than no effort.

Don’t let the fact that you can’t do something perfectly or at 110% stop you from doing it at all. Don’t sit out the game because you think you’re not going to win.



What can you give any amount of effort to today that yesterday you wouldn’t have even attempted because you didn’t think you could do it perfectly? Let me know in the comments!


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  • Mary-Jane Anderson

    thanks Kate, once again, your blog is eerily relevant: I have been dismayed at the slowness of ‘Konmari-ing’ my clothes, and reading your blog am reminded that the 5 carrier bags that went to charity this morning are not only ‘not bad’, they are a triumph! :)

  • I’ve been really trying to incorporate this into my life to reduce stress, particularly with clutter. My art studio is a mess (that’s just how I create) and the thought of cleaning/organizing it perfectly can be overwhelming, so I do a small pile a day. Eventually, the mess goes away. Yay!

  • Janice

    Hi Kate,

    I love the spirituality of yoga, more than the “exercise” part. This was a great post,

    I had been avoiding my finances – just tallying things, you know, because I was so fearful – soooo fearful. So I adopted SARK’s “as little as 5 seconds, as much as 5 hours and that’s when I “ran the numbers” – spent a good two hours on what I was avoiding – pressure OFF!

    Thanks again for sharing.

  • I was just writing about this in my journal! Yesterday, I met a really creative food blogger. Since I’m a food blogger as well, we naturally shared our information. When she left, I took time to check out her blog & her instagram. Holy wow…comparison monster came thundering through my mind. I thought….my photos suck, I’m not as good as her, I might as well throw in the towel. It’s so interesting how that monster makes you think you’re a complete failure at everything…..and how you go from one thing you perceive you’re “bad” at to being “bad” at every area of your life in less than 2 seconds!!

    But you know what, I love being in the kitchen. I love making my gluten free waffles (that’s what my blog is about!). I love learning. I love that I’m not perfect (I hope it’s what makes me endearing to my readers!). I love that I’m a novice. I love knowing I’ve got room to grow.

    So, today, when I push publish on my post, I know I did just enough. I moved myself as far as I could today. And that’s exactly where I need to be.

    Love your site…your words…and your heart!! Looking forward to the webinar Thursday evening! 💖

  • Brenda

    Hi Kate,
    I can’t tell you HOW OFTEN “any amount” comes out of mouth, directly from Rodney’s heart….. xox
    The best advise is this world.

  • I felt so much relief – a letting go of my vice like grip – on reading this today. Never fails to amaze me how that perfectionism-stealing-my-life thing can creep up on me while I’m not looking. Until I’m tense and talking to myself harshly in my head – and I haven’t noticed that I feel that way only because I’ve forgotten (again!) to be kind to myself. Wonderful a-ha for me today – thank you.

  • Adele

    I love this! I am 7th grade English teacher. I see children riddled with anxiety and self-esteem issues because of this crazy achievement culture. “Any amount” will take everyone a little further along their own path of growth….beautiful!

  • Love this! “Straighten your leg any amount.” I was fortunate enough to have taken Yoga with Rodney 20 years ago when I was a budding baby teacher!
    Love him! And Kate, you are awesome.

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