Learning how to approach failure can make the difference between taking a chance again and packing up your bat and ball.
Anything worth having is worth the work. When you’re flat on your face these words of encouragement ring hollow.
But there’s some merit in becoming good at failing and falling…
Crow pose is an arm balance posture in yoga. It’s not the hardest and it’s not the easiest. It is the foundation of lots of other arm balances. Arm strength, core strength, balance and trust is required.
Teacher training helped break down the mechanics of arm balances, rigorous asana practice built strength and a free flowing mindset made room for joy in the falling.
But when I first approached Bakasana that wasn’t the case.
Whoo doggie…For weeks I squatted like a yogi and pushed myself up on my toes. Ready for lift-off. Nothing. I was afraid of falling forward. And then I did fall forward. A lot.
On other attempts I was convinced my arms weren’t strong enough. Time after time I’d one part right and another part of the pose needed an adjustment. So it went. Again and agin. I kept at it.
Zilch. The only thing that was getting stronger was my growing impatience. My impatience muscle is over developed.
Then things changed. Our teacher had us set up for crow. In my head I moaned (In truth, I probably moaned out loud).
You can do this, I told myself.
Hands planted. I took a slow inhale and exhale. I let go of the judgement of my other failed attempts. Turning my focus inside I was feel my forearms straighten and my toes leave the floor. I was balancing.
And balancing…And balancing.
Success. It felt like I had always been able to do it.
I still smile at the thought. I did it.
I did it!
Edison tried 1000 times before the light bulb worked (So the story goes) . With attempts that doesn’t work we’re given a opportunity to retool a thought process or abandon outdated ways of thinking. The other side of learning from mistakes is the ability to get back up and try again.
Sam Wang a neuroscientist in Princeton co-wrote Welcome To Your Brain and he states “The brain does well, what it does often”. So if we teach ourselves not to give up when missteps happen, we are ultimately working at becoming more successful.
The next time you find yourself with less than what you expected don’t worry. Setbacks are setups for success.
This is yoga. Fall down 99 times, get up 100.