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Learning to Live with Your Mistakes On and Off the Yoga Mat

Learning to Live with Your Mistakes On and Off the Yoga Mat

I’m a mistake-maker. I’ve always made them. Always have, and, despite my best efforts at perfection, I always will. I’ve long since come to terms with this – as many of you also probably have. Not everything is in our control, and we, as humans, are usually quite good at owning up to our downfalls when everything hits the fan, and we’ve got no one else to blame but the well-meaning human staring back at us in the mirror.

While I’ve learned to understand that making mistakes is a natural part of being a human being, I’ve had a bit more trouble coming to terms with letting myself feel the aftermath of the mistake itself. As a problem-solver, I run at the mistakes I do make head-on, full speed, all cylinders churning. If a mistake is made, I own up to it, then I solve it the best way I know how, quite immediately. Fires are put out faster than you can say “stop-drop-and-roll.”

Flash to my yoga mat. I do the same thing, like many others probably do. If I fall out of a pose or fall out my steady cadence of breathing – I very quickly snap back up or back in – pain or no pain, I’m past the “mistake” before I even have a chance to register it. Needless to say, I’ve done poses with a throbbing knee, only to later need to ice said knee for days later, when maybe I should have sat my butt on the yoga mat for a second or two before I jumped right back in to the flow.

So, then, with this in mind, I’ve been trying something new. If I make a mistake of some kind – if I fall out of a sequence or a pose, I allow myself just a few moments to feel it. If there is pain, I allow myself longer. I park myself, no matter what is going on around me. Instead of immediately scrambling to join the flow once more, I, as a mistake-maker, have been allowing myself to fall, and fall hard. I don’t allow the context of movement around me dictate that I must jump right back in before I am truly ready.

Yes, there’s something to be said for reacting to issues as soon as possible. But then, there’s also a feeling that can arise in a person, one that indicates that you’ve been spending a whole lot of time putting out fires, but never once allowing yourself to feel the burn.

When I give myself just a few moments’ pause – just a few minutes of collecting what has occurred, re-tracing how it came to be, and realizing that if I allow myself to feel it, I will heal better in the long run. Less ice will be needed if I give  my muscles a break; less built-up anguish will need to be felt if I deal with the minor mistakes one-by-one. Not just by fixing them, but by feeling them, and feeling them all the way through. By feeling the burn of my yoga falls and life falls, I am learning. I am better. I am stronger. Mistakes and all.

Image Source: Thomas Sobek/Flickr

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