It took me five years before I balanced in a handstand. That’s five years of failure where I tried with all my heart and soul only to come toppling down. I wanted to quit more times than I can remember.
There so many moments that I thought my body with it’s thick thighs and short arms would never make it up. I blamed my past and wished I had been a dancer or gymnast. But there I was, staring down what felt like the impossible hurdle of a handstand and I built the strength. But… it was never about the handstand for for me.
It was always about the journey. There was a major life lesson I’m not giving up on myself. I learned what it means to put in the work and stay the course, through the ups and downs, through the good days and the bad. I learned what it means to have faith. It’s not enough to say “I believe”. You need to meet that faith with your hard work. In fact the sheer act of perseverance is a demonstration of faith. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll quit before you really try. But if you can find the strength to believe in yourself even amidst great failure, then you have learned one of the lessons of handstand.
It’s easy to ride the crest of success, but so much harder to pick yourself back up from failure with grace. Fall 1000 times on your journey to handstand, get up 1000 times stronger.
You are the deciding factor that makes yoga a spiritual practice. If you come to your mat and focus only on the physical, then it will be just that—glorified calisthenics or b-grade gymnastics. But, if you come to the practice with a heart yearning for spiritual knowledge, then you can use the poses as a means to grow and evolve. The quest towards wisdom begins with yourself. You get what you put into the practice. Don’t critique yoga for being a physical practice. Critique yourself if you’re making it ONLY a physical practice. I’ve always said that yoga is a physical discipline with a spiritual intention. It’s up to you to get aligned with the deeper dimension of the practice.
If, after many years of practice, you’re not growing spiritually, f you’re not a kinder person, if you don’t feel more happiness, then look closely at your own effort. This practice has survived since ancient times because of the promise of inner awakening. Yoga upholds its end of the promise. If you want to reach the true depth of the Spirit, then it’s up to you keep your end of the deal. Practice with all your heart and all your soul. Put every drop of your being into the spiritual journey. You will one day step into alignment with the grand eternal truth of all that is, and then you will be practicing yoga. Everything else up until that pivotal moment of awakening is there to prepare you for that Divine shift.
International yoga teacher, Kino MacGregor has over 20 years of experience in Ashtanga yoga & 18 years of experience in Vipassana Meditation. She is one of a select group of people to receive the certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga & practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. With over 1 million followers on Instagram & over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube & Facebook, she spreads the message of yoga around the world. To Kino, yoga is more than making shapes. It is a daily ritual where people tune deeply into their spiritual center & experience the peace of the Eternal Divine. Her goal is to make the tools of traditional yoga accessible for all different sizes, shapes, ethnicities, & ages. She believes yoga is truly for everyone. Learn more from and connect with Kino on Instagram!