“I’m bad at yoga.”
Nine times out of ten, this is someone’s response when yoga comes up in conversation. And it really annoys me.
With almost anything in life, you don’t do it because you’re good at it; you do it because you enjoy it and want to become better at it.
A runner trains to become faster. Mountain climbers fall several times before they make it to the top. Each time you lose a game, you learn a new trick.
But increasingly we feel pressure to be good at everything we try, and yoga in particular seems to fall into that bucket.
But what does being “good” at yoga even mean?
For a lot of people, it means simply being flexible and strong enough to do the party trick asanas. But I’ll tell you a secret: if you’re only doing poses that feel easy, if you’re flopping into a forward fold and taking a nap, you’re not really doing yoga. You could even say you’re doing it badly.
Practicing yoga means being in union, yoking together your mind and body, being present. It’s being aware of your body and working with your edges. It’s finding strength and ease in every posture, the hard ones and the easy ones. It’s knowing that even a forward fold can make the most flexible person shake and sweat if it’s done right.
Being “good” at yoga means being completely present in the moment, seeing and sensing your true self, and lovingly stepping into the fire of transformation – wherever that is for you.
There’s a belief that if we’re not good at something it’s not worth doing. But it’s exactly that edge, that struggle to master something, that makes us grow. Our brains and our bodies transform when we do something that is hard, difficult, or challenging.
But in a world where anything less than an “A” is considered failing, how often do we hold ourselves back from trying something because we’re afraid we won’t be good at it?
Who are we afraid will judge us? It’s not going to be anyone else in the yoga class – they’re too focused on their own shortcomings and internal struggle with form. It’s only you judging yourself. And who is that voice inside your head telling you that if you fail you’re a failure? Maybe it’s time the two of you had a conversation.
And what does it mean to fail anyway? It means to stop trying. So, technically, if you don’t go to yoga class because you’re afraid you’ll fail you’re already failing. You’re being “bad” at yoga without even stepping on the mat because you’re not being in integrity with yourself.
So I encourage you to embrace your edge, your fear of failure, your inability to do it perfectly. Be bad at yoga. Be bad at life. Because you’ll become better for it. (tweet it)