When I think back about where I was the same time last year, I marvel at what a stark difference there is in the place that I’m at right now. I fell down, hard, so many times but I always tell myself that what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.
Which is why I could relate to this blog entry on why it’s okay to fall down – in life, or when practising yoga. Suddenly I don’t feel so silly when I flop over so many times during my yoga practice. Written by Kino MacGregor, one of the most respected Ashtanga practitioners around.
“When I first learned Pinchamayurasana, I fell over and over. One day I even fell over more than 20 times. I was impatient and determined. Then after 18 months of trying and falling the balance came and stayed. Yes, you read that correctly! It took me a full year and a half of trying every day to learn how to balance in a simple forearm balance.
“While I was learning, I used the wall once a week and mostly practiced on my own, so I never even had the chance to have someone catch me. When I went to the wall I stayed for 25 breaths to build strength. When I toppled over I picked my body right back up and tried again. My back was always more flexible than I was strong so in order for me to learn how to balance in this posture I had to learn to be strong enough to control my spine. Pinchamayurasana was a lesson in patience (I am not a naturally patient person), perseverance (I wanted to quit nearly everyday) and ultimately a lesson in self-confidence (I had to learn to believe in the idea of my own strength). Every posture has its own time and its own lesson for each person. They key is to be willing to put in the work whenever you face a moment of difficulty, pain or suffering.
You have to let yourself fall. If you do you practice from the perspective of avoiding the uncomfortable feeling of falling then you deprive yourself of full scope of learning possible through yoga. If you can learn how to face pain and suffering without avoiding it then you have understood what the practice is all about. Learning how to fall is about understanding what suffering is, how to face it, accept it and ultimately make it your friend.”