How many times have you set limits on yourself without ever realising you had done so?

Recently I was doing my morning yoga practice and unsuccessfully attempted to get my legs into Padmasana (lotus) whilst in Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm balance). A fellow yogi who was visiting the studio, watched my repeated attempts at wriggling my legs into position before seeing me come crashing down to earth. He said quite casually, “why don’t you ‘just’ (I love that expression’, but more on that another time) flick your second leg into lotus”.

Without really thinking, I responded with, “I can’t do that, I’m not flexible enough in the hips to be able to just flick my legs into lotus.”

It was at this moment I realised I was perpetuating a self-limiting belief that had no foundation in fact, because I had never even tried to do it. I went back up into Pincha Mayurasana and attempted to flick my second leg into lotus and guess what…it shot straight in. I was so surprised, I completely over balanced and came crashing down to earth anyway…but that’s not the point!

The point is, without even realising I had set a limit on what I thought I was capable of. I began to wonder why and realised it was because I was afraid. Afraid of failing, of the pose not looking perfect or of hurting myself.

The feeling I had when I ‘felt the fear and did it anyway’ was incredible and as a consequence my practice has changed since that day and has begun to rapidly evolve. I’m no longer afraid to try because I know it is in failure I learn the most.

I love teaching yoga and the best bit is encouraging my students to realise they are capable of so much more than they think. Over the years I’ve realised that it’s impossible for someone who hasn’t done a handstand in decades, to come back to their feet without a huge smile on their face.

Remember that the only limits you have are the ones you set for yourself. Ordinary people achieve incredible things every day…what’s stopping you from being one of them?