Failure has been brought up in my life in multiple ways lately.
The research project I’m working on this summer revolves around mental health in high school students. My PI (principle investigator) gave me tons of books to read on the subject, and many involve the idea that many high performing teenagers from affluent families never fail. They aren’t even given the chance. They jump through every hoop they are given, and if something is to go wrong their parents swoop into save them.
It’s a story I’m familiar with. I was definitely the perfectionist student that freaked at the slightest misstep. But it’s failure that teaches us how to move past adversity. How to handle struggles with grace. That you won’t always get everything you want in life, but that life doesn’t end — you can come out stronger, forge a new path, and still reach your goals.
This mindset is what I love so much about Baptiste Yoga. At my yoga studio we encourage trying new things: Jump back from crow into chaturanga, even if you fall on your face. Go deeper into dancer, even if you slip out of the pose. Keep pushing yourself to see what you’re capable of.
If you fall over in yoga, while you might find it embarrassing, I see it as having the courage to try something new. Testing your limits. Dropping your ego and being brave enough to fail because you know that you can’t succeed until you try.
One of my favorite yogi friends in Louisville used to say to me before class, “Let’s fall over a bunch in this class!” I loved it. I love being surrounded by people that encourage me to get out of my comfort zone. I love being in a place where trying something new is rewarded, even if it doesn’t go perfectly. It’s awesome that we stop and acknowledge each other for even the smallest of achievements.
I plan on telling my future yoga classes that they should fall. I want them to. And I hope that I can encourage and assist them as they continue to try things on, so excited for when they finally get into a posture they’ve been bravely working toward.
After which there will be sweaty hugs and high fives.
In what areas of your life are you failing and falling? What are you working toward?