Yoga & the Joy of Failure

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

seminar recording | click above to listen


​You see, not many people realize it, but the power of the yoga posture lies not in what you can do—but in what you can’t.

We have to remember first that yoga is about developing our ability to cultivate a sense of calm and joy in our lives. And when you stop to think of it, very few of us need help being happy when things are going our way.

As most of you know, I’ve spent decades helping people live happier, healthier lives. And people come to me for guidance for all kinds of things:

“My partner ignores me and seems indifferent to everything I do. What should I do?” “My daughter is out of control and won’t listen to me or my wife. What do you recommend?” “I have chronic back pain and can hardly concentrate at my desk at work. How can I cope?”

I’ve been asked for help from thousands upon thousands of people with all kinds of problems…but you know what I’ve never heard?

“My husband just bought me a three-carat anniversary ring and is taking me to Paris for the summer. What should I do?”

Nobody comes for help when things are going their way. It’s because we all have that pretty much covered. It’s easy to be happy when you get what you want. It’s easy to be content when you feel loved and appreciated. It’s easy to be fulfilled when your goals get achieved.

But what about the other times? When life throws us those inevitable curve balls of relationship problems, financial difficulties, or health challenges…it’s THEN, when things aren’t going our way, that we need help with our happiness.

The sad thing is that most of us have come to believe that happiness during such times isn’t even an option. Which is one reason we struggle so desperately against anything and everything that might upset the delicate balance in our lives.

But the truth is that human beings have an amazing ability to synthesize great happiness and fulfillment from nearly any circumstance…including our lives as they are. Granted, this ability is woefully underdeveloped in most of us, nevertheless it exists, and more importantly can be developed.

Right now, your experience can be one marked by the feelings of lightness, ease, and accomplishment—instead of dissatisfaction, lack, and struggle. And that’s without anything in your environment or circumstances having to change.

And this is the real promise of yoga, and by extension, the yoga posture–to help us develop that ability to synthesize happiness right here, right now.

You see here’s the open secret, a well-crafted sequence of yoga postures is designed specifically to deliver a series of irritants. Irritants that trigger those hidden tendencies that are responsible for poisoning our happiness day in and day out. For some people it’s the tendency toward self-judgment, for other it could be the habit of impatience, and still others might be tormented by a desperate need for things to be better than they currently are. Always at war with the present moment in a desperate ploy to achieve better, bigger, and more.

And honestly, for the vast majority of people, it’s not just one of these pernicious tendencies that is sabotaging our lives, but a combination.

So back to the yoga posture…

As you move through the postures, you inevitably come up against the frustration of physical limitation, the irritation of emotional impatience, or any number of other aggravations triggered by the sequence. And each and every one of these so-called disappointments present you with an opportunity to forge a new and more skillful way of being. One that yields a sense of lightness and joy rather than exasperation and dissatisfaction.

Now in the BOOTSTRAP yoga system, we do this through a unique three-step process: Recognize, Release, and Restore.

Recognize – Means to notice how your reaction to the situation does nothing to change the situation—at least in this moment. Tight hamstrings, poor balance, or even a slow paced sequence remain despite the protest of our minds. The only real effect of our reaction is to add a helping of frustration and irritation right on top of an already challenging situation. In other words, we unwittingly make things worse. And Recognizing this, is the first step.