This month, in keeping with the simplify theme for September, I will be sharing some thoughts on yoga + life as learned from my yoga instructor in my weekly yoga classes. If I could, I would just pass on the beauty of simplicity I experience in that hour of downward dog, pose of the child, and relaxation time. Alas, sharing a few insights learned must suffice.
The instructor, Terri, is the essence of yoga. She wears her hair in side braids (not as a fashion statement, as she says, but because it's practical for yoga), and wears swirly long sleeve shirts over her yoga tanks. She closes each class telling us to take in the gift of breath and breathe out love--or some breathing in-and-out sequence that I don't remember.
She also shares what I find to be deep philosophical thoughts in each class. She is, of course, talking about yoga and trying to lead us through specific postures. But I have yet to leave a class without thinking more about life and how I choose live it.
During one such class, among instructions on what to do with our bodies, she tells us it's not about success and failure.
We're settling into a difficult yoga pose. She shows us what it's supposed to look like if our bodies would just allow us to do it; then she goes through other variations that might be a little less dangerous for us beginners. As she walks around to see how everyone is doing, she stops to adjust the alignment of my legs (my body never quite looks how I imagine), pushes my back forward, pulls my shoulders down, molding me into the proper shape.
As she walks on, she repeats in a calm, steady tone: "It's not about success and failure. It's about the process and where you are now."
I take a deep breath in and allow that golden nugget to flow through my nostrils and settle into my pelvic bone before a deep exhale sends it back into the world (a little yoga imagery for you).
It's not about success and failure.
Is that true? All of these struggles and roads I follow that feel like dead ends really aren't the failure I imagine? And that one big beautiful door with a shiny label that reads "success" doesn't really exist?
Boy have I had it wrong! I can't even count or recall all the times I felt like (and thus resorted to) FAILURE. A messy house, a beginner's blog, a few "off" days. It doesn't take much for me to sell myself short and want to throw in the towel. To think if I haven't gotten it figured out by now, then I probably never will. After all, everyone around me seems to be so much more fashionable and creative and talented and put together. They are Success.
And, yet, they just may feel like a failure too. We all do at some time, don't we?
But it's not about success and failure...
...it's about the process.
Because success is a process. Not a destination like we often assume. Each stretch, each step, each attempt, each improvement, is just movement in the right direction. Just as each good thing is a part of the whole and not the final destination, any stumbles or slip ups or "off" days are never failure, but merely part of the process.
...it's about where you are now.
Because where you are is different from where I am. And where I am today is different from where I was yesterday or where I'll be tomorrow.
We go on to the next pose. At her reminder, I draw my shoulders together straightening my back, which brings me even further from my legs (not the end goal of this posture). I shrug off the hard critiques I'm tempted to scold myself with, and instead repeat (in my thoughts, of course):
It's not about success and failure, it's about the process and living where I am now.This isn't a new concept either. In fact, I'm happy to be reminded that God is the reason I'm not a failure:
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cut down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand.
It's Not About Yoga
Leave Your Ego at the Door