Yoda is yoga. Yoga is Yoda.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Star Wars IS YOGA.
The Jedi Force? The Life Force – AKA Prana, the breath.
Fear is the path to the dark side (Ahimsa – non-violence)… always pass on what you have learned (Svadhaya – self study)… train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose (Isvara Pranidhana – surrender)… all of Yoda’s teachings are basically the Yamas and the Niyamas.
Yoda meditates, he is tiny and yet has amazing strength (like in yoga where you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to balance on your arms, strength is found on the inside).
And as a result Yoda’s inner strength IS his outer strength.
He teaches Luke to concentrate (Dharana – sixth limb of yoga), focus (Dhyana – seventh limb of yoga), but most importantly FEEL (asana – third limb of yoga).
I’m an ex film studies student, and every film student knows that Star Wars is NOT sci-fi – it is a fairytale, or more accurately a hero’s tale – the narrative being heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell, the famed mythologist. The famed mythologist who’s many philosophical stories come from India – and more importantly the Hindu religion… of which yoga gets much of it’s teachings. Coincidence? No.
Star Wars is steeped in the Hindu teachings that form much of what we know and learn about the practice of yoga.
There are a THOUSAND other reasons why Star Wars is yoga – but that is a blog for me for another time – because today I am supposed to be talking about failure.
So here we go:
“The greatest teacher, failure is.” – Yoda
Yes Yoda, you are SO right, so, so right.
When I ‘failed’ my 11+ what did I learn? That I am better at coursework than exams and that a test does not prove my intelligence, it just proves that I get really nervous in tests. When I ‘failed’ to get into headstand the first time I tried, what did I learn? That I need to practice, walk before I try to run. When I ‘failed’ to impress my parents with my first tattoo what did I learn? That getting a tattoo on an impulse at the age of 24 in Thailand is probably not the best way to please your parents.
If we don’t try, we never ‘fail’, and we certainly never learn… but what even is trying anyway? It’s just doing it, or doing the best version of ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is, and as Yoda says: “do or do not there is no try”. So you just do the best version of what you can today and that’s it.
Headstand, side crow, crow, handstand – all these poses I have ‘failed’ at a thousand and million times – and will continue to do so I am sure.
I ‘failed’ at paying attention to my breath in a breathing practice – why? I wasn’t listening, my head was elsewhere. I ‘failed’ to meditate in Savasana – why? I was too busy writing my shopping list in my head.
‘Failing’ isn’t a bad thing, it’s no biggie if you ‘failed’, the point is you made the step in the first place to go out there and DO IT, or do whatever your body and mind felt it could do at that time.
And that’s huge.
So my advice is do what scares you, go to your edge, and give things a go, if failure is the only thing you fear then consider this – the difference between a master and a beginner? “The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.” – Yoda.
‘Failing’ is not failing if you learn something, and there’s definitely nothing to fear about education.