Fearless Yoga

Fearless Yoga; WTF? I said this in class the other day and that’s basically the look I got from about half my class. I think most thought it was some adjective about how their arms should be and the other half thought I was just having a mumble-stumble when talking about Warrior ll. What I wanted to tell them, without making them hold Warrior ll for 15 minutes, is that yoga should be a fearless practice. Not fearless of the postures (some kind of freak me out) but fearless of failure.

I grew up playing competitive sports so I’ve always had the mindset, like many people, that failure wasn’t an option. I liked to win. I thrived on winning. Then I moved onto college and then the “real world”. Office life has its own set of competitive pressures that bring out the “failure is not an option” attitude. We are always striving to get ahead, to perform better than our peers and to win that next big raise.

I see that same mindset when people come to their mat for class. Hell, I had when I first starting practicing yoga. You come in with the “I will conquer” mindset. You’re going to hit every pose perfectly. Your down dog will make your teacher weep it’s so perfect. You will not fail at this! What a stressful thought process, right? So this is where I pop-in. Whether it’s in my own head or into other’s minds… Fearless Yoga! Be fearless of failure because there is no way to fail at yoga. It’s always a practice and always evolving. Your heels don’t touch the ground on down dog? So what! Your arm isn’t as low as your neighbors in Triangle? Who cares! Yoga is all about yourself and how you feel. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s not about succeeding or failure. In a way, it’s neither! You can’t win at yoga and you can’t lose; you’re just playing. You can succeed and you can’t fail; you’re just trying.

So I hope that the next time you go to your mat that you don’t think/stress about conquering the next hour of yoga. That you simply take each breathe as it comes and each posture as it comes with an open mind and a fearless attitude. You will not fail at this. It’s just not possible.

-B

March 12, 2010. Tags: , , , . musings, Yogi Things. Leave a comment.