Do you remember learning how to walk for the first time? Do you remember how many times you tried and fell? Or thinking that each fall was a failure? As a toddler, do you remember ever thinking that walking was not “your thing”?
That you weren’t very good at it? Or that you didn’t like it very much?
I have posed these questions to yoga students hundreds of times. So far, no one has said “yes” to any of the above. If you are the exception, I would truly love to hear from you and learn about what it was like! But if you said “no” to all of the above, I see it as a perfectly good thing that you weren’t keeping track of the falls, not keeping track of all the times you tried but couldn’t yet get your balance.
Can you imagine learning how to walk, and checking your mental calendar each day, wondering when you were going to get your walk just right? What happened? At various points along the way – usually, after we learned to walk – we became defined by our outward skills. By what we or others perceived we were “good at.”
We were graded on our performance rather than on our level of involvement or enjoyment. And so we often disliked those things that did not come easily. Over the years, our likes and dislikes made us who we (think we) are! Identity-oriented societies encourage this process, leading us to believe it is natural and inevitable. And even leading us to believe that freedom is synonymous with our loud expression of likes, dislikes, identities, and emotions.
But at a certain point, we might realize that we are actually limited by them. If you ever find yourself feeling confined by these things, yoga is here to help you free yourself. Being “good” at Yoga And the great news is that what makes you good at yoga is your willingness to try, your willingness to try again, and your willingness to learn. That is all. Nothing else is required. That is what got you walking, after all, isn’t it?