Sep 15, 2016

How Shalabhasana taught me a lesson on failure?


Today is a special day for me. Having struggled with Shalabhasana for the last 1.5 years, I was able to do this Yoga pose today for 10 counts and most importantly, with ease. When I started out with Yoga last April, I had such a hard time whenever my teacher asked us to do this pose. My legs would hardly go up an inch. I pushed, struggled, tried a lot but failed multiple times. Though I was getting better at other asanas, this one gave me such a hard time. As months passed, I could see that I was improving a little bit and my teacher also recognized that. Today, when I got this asana right, I patted myself on my back. Certainly, a satisfying moment it was!

This experience reminded me of this interesting talk by Bharathi Baskar I listened to a few days back. She is one of my inspirations and I love her books and speeches.



In this talk where she talks about first-rank holders in schools (from 31st min of this video), this statement on failure struck a chord in me
"People who taste success all the time don't know how to face failure. Failure teaches us grit and determination to overcome any obstacles in life"
I had been a top-rank holder pretty much all the time in school and college. I never gave importance to sports or physical activity (except for a brief spell of basketball sessions in 6th grade). I used to play outdoors a lot when I was a kid/teen but never been part of a regular sports activity. Life in my 20s was spent mostly in comfortable cubicles, conference rooms and classrooms.

Years of sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise has reduced my flexibility and strength. Through Yoga, I'm realizing the positive impact of regular exercise, both in my body and mind. I still can't get many asanas right but the small improvements I make everyday give me such a high. It's okay if I fail and struggle but I know one day I'll get it right, like today.

A few of my favorite quotes on failure
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” - Denis Waitley  
“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” - Zig Ziglar  
“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” - Eloise Ristad
What lessons have you learnt from failure? Do share your stories.

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