I wrote a few months ago about success, and it seems fitting to now speak about “failure”. The first definition is “lack of success” which doesn’t do much for me. Secondarily we have, “the neglect or omission of expected or required action… non-performance.” This reminds me of a quote from the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:
One succeeds in all Yogas through energetic practice – even if one is young, old, very old, sick or weak. The practitioner will succeed; the non-practitioner will not. Success in yoga is not achieved by merely reading books. Success is achieved neither by wearing the right clothes nor by talking about it. Practice alone brings success. This is the truth, without a doubt. (1:64-66)
I find myself in a moment of doubt sitting down to write, a practice that works wonders for me every single time. My morning asana and pranayama practice was great, the coffee was strong and the sun is starting to shine, I’ve got this.
So back to this “expected or required action,” letting go (apaigraha) of expectations is a big part of yoga philosophy. Taking required action (karma yoga) is another important part of the practice. I’m here to squash the idea that yogis are just sitting around all day meditating, or begging for food, or stretching on the beach in a bikini, or living in the world of roses and rainbows. The majority of us are busting our ass in one of the largest and fastest growing “industries” in the world. To be a professional yogi is an oxymoron, the nature of yoga is to give without expectation or requirement of return. I’m not a “professional yogi” but a business owner and a teacher. I am trying to share and educate myself and others in a way that supports a yogic lifestyle. Everyday is an ebb and/or flow of this (rather tricky) balancing act.
Exactly 3 years ago I was ready to quit teaching and close the studio. I had lost sight of my own practice because I was exhausted from teaching over 20 classes a week and running the studio singlehandedly. Financially I was actually stable, but emotionally, physically and spiritually I was overexerted and checked out. I felt challenged by people asking me about “the competition”, recommending “marketing strategies” and telling me how to run the business. I called David Williams. Naturally, he told me to relax and to keep finding time for practice…
I expanded my own horizon of practice. Writing emails is a chance for me to practice my writing, teaching yoga is a chance for me to practice a little asana, taking time to throw my feet up a wall is relaxation practice, making business choices is a professional practice. I also started meditating, 5 minutes a day (usually more) of quiet time with myself. While I am eternally grateful for the external forces that support me and have gotten me here today, it is ALWAYS important to turn it back inside. The only things that are required of me, are the duties I have set for myself. I chose yoga, business, writing and travel. When I feel worn thin, a bit broken or misunderstood, reflection of my own beautiful life is the only answer.
I’m writing as we come to FebrYOUary 2019. This is a yoga challenge older than the studio, before I had Instagram, created to challenge the community of yogis I know and love to REALLY self-love everyday for the month of February. In our 6th year, the premise is the same: a 5-minute minimum of dedicated self-care daily. It may look different everyday, and that’s wonderful. You may have to “double-up” one day because you missed another, and that’s perfect. What is required action? You decide!! We must create positive habits, recognize sources of love and allow the inner light to shine forth. I’ve decided my bank account doesn’t define me, my business is not here to compete with others and regardless of what anyone thinks, I’m doing the best I can each day.
If you want to reach to chat, to share your experience, to join the FebrYOUary 2019 challenge, or just to say hi, please do! Thanks for reading my blogs, I really really love to write and most of what I do write down you’ll never see. If the blog speaks to you, thank you again for listening. I urge you to now listen to yourself, expand your horizons of practice and go forth in good spirits!