There is a saying in our yoga world, “You gotta suck before you can shine.” It basically gives you permission to makes mistakes and be messy when you are first learning something. Isn’t it ridiculous that we expect to be perfect when we do something for the first time? I don’t know about you but I want to do it right and do it good from the very beginning. When did that happen? I remember being a kid and not worrying how I did things…I just did them. I did not evaluate how well I did them either. At some point in our lives, we learn that making mistakes and being messy is a bad thing and something we should try to avoid. Isn’t making mistakes part of the learning process? How would we learn if we never did anything wrong?
I will give you an example from yoga. When you first learn to jump back from crow pose, people often belly flop. It is just part of the learning process. You belly flop so that you can learn how to better access your core in order to jump your legs back. If you think about it…it isn’t even a mistake to belly flop. It’s just part of the learning process. Ah, so maybe we have just been calling it a mistake or messy when it is really just learning. How many times do you have to fall down when you are learning to walk or to ride a bike? Several times because all of it is part of the learning process. By falling we learn what muscles we need to engage more so we can walk and bike ride without falling.
In yoga teacher trainings, this shows up a lot. New teachers want to be flawless and teach like their mentors do. However, teaching yoga is a process just like learning to walk, riding a bike and jumping back from crow. We want to arrive at the destination without ever taking the journey. The journey is where the beauty lies. So I often say you have to suck before you will shine. Embrace the messiness, the mistakes, the learning process because all of that is what allows us to shine so brightly.