In That Space You Will Succeed
Everyone has something that pushes them to the edge of their limits. Almost every yoga practitioner has experienced a posture that brought them to the edge of what they believed was possible for the body and the mind. When this happens there is nothing to do but try, let yourself fall and ultimately transform yourself through the process.
Many students aim for perfection right from the beginning. They try to learn the correct alignment, movement pattern and breathing. While this is a valiant effort, perfection rarely arrives straight from the beginning. We often need to fail in order to succeed. If you are afraid of doing something wrong you will often hold yourself back from finally getting it right. At the edges of our comfort zone is where the most potential for learning and growth are. In your yoga practice when you face these hurdles it is important to breathe, remain calm and keep practicing.
When I was learning the Ashtanga Yoga Fourth Series two postures pushed me to the edge of my comfort zone. First I avoided them at all costs. Then when I tried I got stuck because I was not sure how to move and rather than do it incorrectly I just didn't move at all. It was really only under the guidance of my teacher in Mysore that I had the courage to just try. When I did, it wasn't magical. It was comical. I fell over, nearly taking down my teacher and the students nearby. This was the imperfect moment of failure that I was trying my best to avoid. Yet as soon as I fell over I also learned what movement pattern was also not the best way to enter the posture. After months of toppling over I made some small improvements. The hardest thing for me was the disorientation that I experienced when I was at the limit of my body's capacity. I could not tell what was up or down, right or left, inhale or exhale. It was a scary limbo to be hovering in while my body was vulnerable in a yoga posture.
Every student of yoga faces their test one day. How you respond to that test will determine how deeply the practice will affect you. Watch this video below to see my own process at the edge of my comfort zone. Hopefully it will inspire to stay the course when you feel pushed to the edge. Remember to give yourself permission to fail, topple over and get it wrong. In that space of safety you will succeed.
Kino MacGregor is a an international yoga teacher, the author of two books (The Power of Ashtanga Yoga; Sacred Fire), producer of five Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, the founder of Miami Yoga Magazine the co-founder and co-owner of Miami Life Center and YouTube yoga personality. For complete details please see www.kinoyoga.com.