When Things Don't Go As Planned
Do you ever feel you are failing? Are things not going as planned? I remember a particular time when this happened to me. I had just found out my yoga teacher was moving. She wasn’t moving to a different studio or city, but to a different country. What was I do to? I didn’t know any other teachers. I wasn’t even sure there were any other teachers in the small Saudi Arabian town where I lived. I wasn’t sure I wanted another teacher. I felt I would be unable to continue practicing yoga. It seemed like I had no option at the time and I would have to stop.
But it’s funny how things turn out. I thought it was terrible news, that my teacher was leaving. I wasn’t going to have anyone to teach me. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With the encouragement of my teacher, I decided to sign up for my first yoga teacher training. Not with a plan to teach, but to know enough to be able to practice on my own. I was determined to continue my Ashtanga practice. I read books and searched the Internet to learn more about Ashtanga Yoga. The more I learned, the more I realized that my teacher at the time taught a highly modified Ashtanga Yoga. At first, I was disappointed and thought about all the years I thought I was practicing Ashtanga only to realize I wasn’t. Now I see that she did her best to teach what she knew. Her leaving actually helped me; it was a chance to do some research of my own.
I began to learn what the practice was really about and establish a home practice. I was able to find another teacher, one that followed and taught in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition.
What this taught me is that there is success in failure. Sometimes when things don’t work out as planned, instead of focusing on the negative, we should try to see the possibilities that lie ahead. If my teacher had stayed, I would have continued to practice pseudo-ashtanga for another two years, maybe more.
We live in a success-driven society; we want to see progress and results. We devise a plan, one that we believe will give the results we want--and the quicker the better. We don’t want to fail, we don’t want any bumps along the way. We sometimes even sabotage our own success by never attempting anything at which we may fail.
But there is success in failure. There may be benefits when things don’t turn out as planned. We may be unable to see it at first, but as we look back on those perceived failures we can see the opportunities they have given us.
It is often said that failure is life’s greatest teacher. I experience this often in my practice. Each pose is a lesson and no matter how many times I repeat it, I learn something new. There is always something to work on, whether it be physical, working with the breath, keeping the mind steady or overcoming a fear. I may not always succeed, but at least I tried. I learn what works for me and what doesn’t. I am open to trying something new and exploring my boundaries.
I once read that to achieve success you must be willing to try something new, you must stay within your strength zone but outside of your comfort zone. It makes so much sense. You can’t obtain different results if you keep repeating the same thing over and over. Wasn’t it Einstein who said that is the definition of insanity?
Don’t be afraid to try something new and take a chance. Do something a little different, even if you are unsure of what will happen. Don’t get so caught up in your plan that you let other opportunities slip by.
We can learn a lot from our mistakes and failed plans. We learn what works and what doesn’t. We learn our strengths and weaknesses. It is through failure that we are able to make the impossible possible, but we must be willing to fail or let change happen, and push ourselves to achieve the best.
Lots of love,