Success and Failure

There is no failure in Yoga.

We were chatting about this in the workshop yesterday, and if you think there’s a possibility to “succeed” at anything in Yoga, or conversely to “fail” then you really don’t understand what Yoga is all about. And this isn’t some bland soapbox-spiritual new-age way to excuse yourself and bypass the real work to be done. It’s a simple, basic fact.

You see, Yoga is about experiencing reality as it arises. Yoga tells us that the reason we suffer is our expectation that life will go in one direction or another. The judgemental thinking mind kicks in and compares what is actually happening to some (often idealistic) fantasy. We do this at varying shades and degrees all through our lives.

You cannot succeed in Yoga. There is never a point that you reach where you can say you’ve “done it”. In the same way, there’s never anything to do in Yoga practice where you can say you failed. This is because the actual practice, whether you’re doing postures or breathing or meditation or chanting or any of the other million types of Yoga practice isn’t the physical form of the activity. It’s the paying attention to what is going on, being present in your experience as fully as you can.

So if you’re practising and you notice that you did something in a way that might be construed as a failure from some limited non-Yoga perspective (i.e. that same thinking mind that makes you suffer so) then you actually succeeded, because you noticed, you experienced.

Do your practice and notice what arises, even when you cannot do it “right”.

That is Yoga.