Our culture is preoccupied with the drama of succeeding and failing.
People are constantly setting up binary worlds that allow each other to think in purely win and lose terms. That’s why we’re told over and over that failure isn’t an option. That if we fail when nobody’s looking, it’s not really a failure. That if there isn’t an opportunity for failure, it’s not innovative. And that if we fail and life goes back to normal, our story wasn’t worth telling.
But not everything has a finish line.
That’s what first attracted me to yoga. It has no ideal. It’s just wherever you are right now. The girl on the mat next to you might be stronger and thinner and more experienced and has those really cool yoga pants that make her butt look like a roasted chicken, but that doesn’t make her better and you worse. She’s not winning and you’re not losing. No dance is out of step. That’s why they call it a practice.
Krishnamurti once did a interview for a famous yoga journal and said that if you are on the right path for you, you will not think in terms of succeeding or failing. It’s only when people don’t really love what they’re doing that they think in those terms.
Just enjoy practicing.
How does your preoccupation with the drama of succeeding and failing affect your performance?
Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and work study volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.