Each and every one of us has a special relationship with failure. No matter how many inspirational quotes we read about failure’s uses, it’s hard to deal with it. Even in yoga, a place you go to escape your stresses, it can feel like you’re failing when you can’t seem to get strong enough for Chaturanga or flexible enough to sit in Lotus Pose or even simple cross-legged. Not to mention the feeling of failure when you struggle with philosophical concepts like santosha (contentment) and ahimsa (non-harming).
But let’s look at failure from a different perspective. Failure is a form of learning. When you try to get off the floor in that arm balance, and you feel your arms collapsing, you’ve learned you need to either strengthen your arms or employ the use of other muscles to help you up. You follow on that path - for however long it takes - until you succeed. When you notice you’re engaging in negative self-talk, you have the opportunity to return to your tenet of ahimsa - for instance, to tell yourself it’s okay and to encourage yourself to keep trying.
The best baseball players have a .300 batting average. That means they’re hitting the ball 30% of the time - and striking out or hitting straight to a glove 7 out of 10 times. What are they doing in those 7 out of 10 times? Learning. If they beat themselves up about it, they wouldn’t give themselves the space to gather new information that will help them succeed.
Next time you’re in class, allow yourself the space to learn, which is to allow yourself the grace to fail. Yoga is a practice filled with failure and success that never leads to a performance. So you never have to worry about being booed out of the stadium. Let the fan inside you root and cheer you on, putting less importance on the results and more importance on the journey of learning.