Ok, it’s time to get honest with you all. It might appear that from what you know about me already that I love, live and breathe yoga. Well, I do now, but if you’d asked me a few months ago, I would’ve been lying if I’d said I was practising regularly. Ultimately, even though this was painful to admit at the time, the reasons why I resisted yoga helped me to appreciate my practice as it is today.
You see, this is one of my patterns which has been unveiled to me during my healing and as I’m going through life at the moment. I have this horrible, perfectionist habit of projecting what I think something should look like on to a situation and then running away if there is even a shred of evidence that the experience is not living up to my unusually high standards. Living life like this is boring, unadventurous, limiting and suffocating, but it’s what I used to do with everything- jobs, studies, social situations and more recently yoga.
Here’s how this habit played out in my yoga practice (or not, as the case may be). The excuses I used to resist getting on the mat were:
- that studio’s too far away
- the classes are too expensive
- I think I’ll be too tired after working all day if I commit to going at ‘x’ time
- I’m sick of being in downward dog in that style of yoga
- I don’t like ‘x’ style, so I won’t go today
- the classes are 90 minutes, but I prefer 60 minutes
- I hate triangle pose, so I’m not going to class in case I have to do it
- I haven’t drunk enough water today, so I’ll just be crazy dehydrated if I go now
- people always look at me funny when I go to that studio
- I’ve been away from that studio for so long that I’m frightened people will think I’m rubbish
- I’m scared that I’ve forgotten everything I’ve ever learned
- I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to get into ‘x’ pose as easily as I used to
Granted, some of these excuses might be quite valid, but as for the rest? They say more about me and my attitudes than they do about yoga, and as we all know, what you resist, persists.
I was avoiding yoga as a way of avoiding myself. How you do one thing is how you do everything. Yoga meets you right where you’re at- if you’ve had a stressy day, you’ll have a stressy yoga practice. If you’ve had a breezy, kind-to-yourself day, your practice will reflect that.
When I eventually made it back to the mat and dived into practice, it was one of the best sessions I’ve ever had…and now, I’m hooked. The poses that you want to avoid are the ones that you can learn the most about yourself from, so I try and dive into them whenever possible. Handstands, bring it on- I’m not great at them, but one day, I will be.
Yoga, like everything in life, is a constant journey of discovery and self-knowledge. Let go of the fact that it has to look a certain way. It’s one of the best self-love practices you can give yourself and you’ll learn more and more about yourself than you ever thought possible. It doesn’t have to be athletic and you don’t have to bend yourself in half or look like you have 12 limbs to do it. Just tip-toe into it gently- give thanks if you brush up against that thing you’ve been avoiding about yourself. It might just save you.
I choose to surrender on the mat
Love and pigeon pose (my person favourite!),