Falling On Your Asana

It’s inevitable. If you do physical yoga, you are going to fall eventually. Probably more than once. You probably won’t hurt yourself seriously.  You probably won’t break a tooth. You probably will look a little ridiculous.  It’s ok.  It’s so ok.

When I first started yoga, I took it all so seriously.  I wouldn’t go to public classes for fear that I would look dumb because I couldn’t do the poses.  When I finally got up the nerve to take a class, I hid in the back, as far back as I could and tried hard not to make eye contact with anyone before, during, or after class.  Time passed and I got more comfortable with the idea of doing yoga with other people, but I was still afraid to screw up or fall.

It’s interesting, huh?  I mean, really, there are a lot of yoga poses that look kind of silly anyway if you think about them from the standpoint of typical body movements.   Seriously, tell me that halasana, kurmasana, and karnapidasana aren’t a little goofy looking.

Uh huh. I don’t think you can.  Try, if you will, to imagine anyone taking these body positions for anything besides a yoga class and what the reactions of observers would be.  Yoga asana is a little bit like sex in this way.  It’s beautiful to see because of what it represents, but from a body-only perspective sometimes it looks kind of (or much, depending) funny.

So, there I am in a yoga class and I’m contorting my body into these odd situations, but I’m worrying about falling over.  Hmm…  Over time, I just had to get over it.  I stopped trying to pretend like I didn’t just stumble or fall.  I stopped avoiding poses that I thought I might fall over in.  I embraced my inner Chevy Chase and got comfortable with the fall.  Now, when I fall over, sometimes quite spectacularly, I snort a little, reassure anyone who asks that I’m fine, and carry on.  This attitude lets me be a little bit less serious about my asana.  I try to have a little fun with it and enjoy the playtime.  Yes, it can be a time of meditation and it should be a time of mindfulness, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a time of joy, trying new things, and falling/failing with a grin.

It’s not quite fall yet, but you are, in fact, welcome to fall!




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7 Responses to Falling On Your Asana

  1. I love this. I recently realized that the people who look ridiculous are the ones who make horrible faces to themselves after they fall. The ones who look like they are ready to whip themselves and are terribly disappointed in their bodies. The people who smile and laugh when they fall look cute and fun and childlike. It was a good realization… thanks for the great post!

  2. I love this! Learning to laugh at yourself is so important in yoga. non attachment and ego! I fall all the time. I’ve been clumsy my whole life. I’d be a sad girl if I didn’t have some fun with it. Great post!!

  3. Derek says:

    Or, as I think of those three poses, extreme belly button gazing, duck and cover, and “Look at me! I’m a turtle!” But the advice is important, and someday, when I start doing yoga, I’ll be trying hard to remember this.

    P.S. I fell of my chair while reading this.

  4. Maria simone says:

    One of the women That teaches where I go says that falling is always a perfectly acceptable variation if any pose 🙂

  5. I try to look at yoga as getting out there and having fun, so sometimes, yep there is falling. I just try to enjoy myself… my worries used to be more in the ‘I’m not flexible enough’ range, so I’m glad I’ve gotten passed that. What’s funny is that I work at a studio and those pictures scare the crap out of new students LOL I have to tell them that they won’t be doing those poses and not to worry! 🙂

  6. yvonne says:

    It took me a while to learn how, but now I laugh all the time when I fall out of arm balances. Kind of a “Oh well, next time” moment.

    And @Maria, I love that quote! I’m totally using that the next time I teach class 🙂

  7. Kristen says:

    I fell out of a pose while I was teaching the other day. I was demo’ing for the student, and fell right on my butt. They looked mortified, I laughed. Then they looked relieved. Hopefully, I taught them the pose AND that it’s not too serious. 🙂

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