Embracing Failure on Your Yoga Mat

As humans, no one likes to fail. We have all been taught from a young age to aim for success. We are taught to win in a game, to always go the extra mile on the track, and to push to lift those extra five pounds in the gym. And when we don’t succeed, when we do mess up; we have the tendency to get down on ourselves. We often talk poorly about ourselves and our performance. Striving for perfection typically leads to this detrimental thought process, and it is most definitely not a healthy one.

The same thought process can happen in our yoga practice. We strive for perfection on our mat. We want to hold poses the longest that we can. We want to learn how to do all of the cool inversions; we want to be able to stand on our hands or on our heads without shaking or falling down. However, one of the most important things we need to realize when we step on our mat is that it is okay to make mistakes. It is okay to fall out of a pose. It is okay that one day you feel a bit more off than the previous day. You don’t have to get down on yourself about it.

You don’t have to get discouraged or quit because you may not necessarily be doing your best one day. That’s the beauty of life; that is the beauty of yoga. Some days we are spot on with everything, and other days we simply are not. We have to ride the waves in life and our yoga practice. Some days we may feel on top of the world and so strong. Maybe we can hold our crow pose and it makes us feel empowered. But then the next day, we have to ride the low wave. Maybe it’s slipping into a pose, not being able to get down in your split. These high and low waves in life, these failures that every human faces do not define us. They show us one thing: we are human and we are perfectly imperfect.

Our failures on our mat should never discourage us to stop coming to our mat. They should make us more motivated to keep trying our best to succeed. Our failures should not make us want to quit, they should keep us determined to continually put in our best effort. Whether you are an all-star yogi, or just started yoga a few weeks ago; mistakes are unavoidable in this practice. Sure, the all-star yogi who has been practicing for ten years has improved tremendously in her practice, but it doesn’t mean she never makes mistakes.

Learn to give yourself some grace when you step onto your mat. Rid yourself of the negative thoughts that may pop up in your head when you mess up. Eliminate your preexisting beliefs that failure is the worst thing in the world. In the times when we do fall down or make a mistake, we learn from those mistakes. And that is such a beautiful thing, one that many often forget. Make your yoga practice unique to you. Accept and embrace failure, and never, ever, give up.

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