I'm sure you have heard it a million times, "fall 9 times get up 10" or something pretty close to this. We have mottos like "try, try again" or my personal favorite, "try until you just do", but no matter how you say it, the Nike ads with "Just do it" seems to always be about right.
1. Bruises are “Badges of Honor”:
I was looking at some recent pictures of myself after an arm balance workshop and I noticed I had some "badges of honor" (bruises are really markings of attempt, of trial, and of work... hence badges of honor). As yogis, bruises in all shapes and sizes seem to be our markings of trial and error, bending our bodies in new ways, and that "badge of honor" for hard work and practice. In these photos, I had a great one on the edge of my left jaw (probably from falling in forearm balance and maybe a jump back from crow to chatarunga or four limb staff pose), an excellent pair on each shoulder (eight angle pose, I'm sure) and my forearms are still speckled with the yellow fading of bruises (forearm stand and who knows what else).
2. We Fall to Learn:
A favorite teacher of mine likes to state (loudly in class), that we try, fall, repeat until we don't even notice that we are flying. We work to fall because this is how we learn, we didn't just walk out of the womb or get behind the handle bars of a bike or hop up into handstand the first time. We try, we fall, and we learn. Maybe we fell because we aren't strong enough in the core/arms/mind (?), perhaps it was the way we were guided into a pose (all bodies are NOT the same, different strokes for different folks), and possibly you are just that person who needs to try it once to figure it all out. It's the learning, the challenge, the "this didn't work, but this did", because without the trial and error, growth wouldn't come.
3. Falling Builds Self Confidence:
When we’re in a class, surrounded by other people trying and falling, we feel at ease. Bruises heal, pride/ego rebound, and you can usually just shake out the body, all will be all right. On the mat, we build confidence when we rock a pose that has been a challenge, which encourages us to try more challenging poses. In the safety of a studio, where teachers are there to “spot”, guide, and assist when needed there is a comfort level that can lead to tackling challenges both on and off the mat with greater ease. Falling is learning, so if we can fall and get back at it on the mat, why not off the mat and out in the world? After all if you can do a headstand, why not open that vegan bakery or start up that nonprofit you've been dreaming of, heck why not move to Paris, live under the Eiffel tower and teach yoga in French, what do you have to lose by trying?
FALLING doesn’t equal FAILING. Beside the letter difference, falling IS NOT failing. Yes, some times it FEELS like it is failing, but it isn’t. Falling is learning, if we can fall and get back at it, we continue to learn. Failing is never trying, never doing, or falling then never getting back up and trying again.