Balancing Practice

So if you follow my blog, you know I like yoga.  Kind of a lot.
There are a LOT of reasons, which I am happy to tell you about if you ask, but I’ve been thinking about one reason in particular.

I’m a perfectionist.
It’s not a good thing for me.
I’ve struggled with my performance mentality for a long time, and as an adult I’ve had to teach myself how to break the habit of beating myself up when I don’t do it “right” or “perfectly.”
(Incidentally, this was really driven home by my read and study of Brene Brown’s book: The Gifts of Imperfection” which I highly recommend if you find yourself relating to this post at all.)

Yoga, at it’s core, is a practice.
It’s never done. You never get it “right” or “perfect.”
And there might be a day you do a pose really well, and then literally the next day you can’t do it if your life depended on it.
And that’s all ok.
It’s all a part of the practice of yoga.

While I do daily yoga, I only go to a public class once a week.
Though she says it a lot, yesterday my instructor reminded me that the only way our bodies learn is by falling.

There’s a pose – Warrior 3 – where you balance on one leg and make yourself into a T shape.
Warrior-3
Here’s the thing – your hips have to be level.  Like balance a cup of water on your low back level.  When you start the posture, your non-standing-leg hip wants to go up just a little.  And so the practice in this pose is to get those hips on the same plane.  So you adjust, and adjust and adjust, and usually, you adjust a bit too much and fall out of it.
But that’s where the magic happens. That little space between falling and balancing is the sweet spot, but you never get there without going past it first.
And if you’re anything like me, wanting perfection… that should blow your mind.
Because I think we’re so afraid to fall, so afraid of not doing things “right” that we don’t ever take the risk, and then we never learn anything new.
The only way we learn is to fall.
The only way we learn is to fall.
Seriously.
This fear of failure that we’ve built into the culture is bad for us.
It’s bad for creativity.
It’s bad for health.
It’s bad for us period.

This is why I love yoga.
Yoga is where I learn stuff like this and then take if off the mat and into the world.
Perfection isn’t the goal.
The practice is the goal.
Learning is the goal.
So I try stuff. I imagine, I dream big.
Sometimes I fall.
A lot of times I fall actually.
But I can’t be afraid of it.
And I know that falling is how I learn.
So I get up, try again, try something new and – sometimes, sometimes I get it just right.
I balance on the edge of safety and falling… and it’s beautiful.
I mean really, really beautiful.

There are things happening in my life right now that feel like big impossible dreams.
And I’m finding myself on the edge.
The easy thing would be to back up.
To move back into a safe place where balance is easier and things are not so scary.
But I know that growth doesn’t happen back there.
It happens here, balancing on the edge.
Trusting in the practice.
If I fall, well, that’s just a part of learning and growing.
Fear has no place in my yoga practice.
And it has no place in my life either.