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!),
hi there…I’ve never left a comment but I’ve been following your blog for a while…I found you through Daniel Neuffer…
as someone who is also recovering from a very long term chronic illness I want to point out that I started yoga while bedridden…rehabilitative yoga, so to speak…so it was by necessity done at home…in my bed.
and I still can’t make it to classes given my condition and so I have a very developed home practice. I’m always telling folks they do not need a class…when we’re really ill we really cannot make it to class…it’s not an excuse as you know.
So there are so many quality resources on the internet! and so many of them are totally free…
I’ve written a bit about home yoga here http://beyondmeds.com/2012/02/17/yoga-at-home/
it includes a bunch of links to other beginning yoga posts geared to those of us who’ve been chronically ill.
thank you for this blog! I’ve been enjoying it.
Hi Monica- thank you so much for your comment and the link to your home yoga article- I really appreciate it. I have to admit, I didn’t practise yoga at all or even consider it when I was very sick (I wish I had though!) The excuses in this article are very recent excuses I was giving myself to not practise at all- such a shame! I’m absolutely fascinated by rehabilitative yoga and I will definitely read your article thoroughly. Love the Equinox yoga video at the end!
Thank you Monica! xxx
Hey Monica, Very nice and informative blog post about yoga!
Really loved the videos at Couryoga.
Katie me too was kinda reluctant to do Yoga but soon I realized that either I have to feel the pain of discipline or feel the pain of regret.
You are sharing great information. i really want to start it at my home and you helping me in this.
I’ve just discovered your website, Katie. Great work! A resounding yes to all the reasons above! I *know* I was made for yoga and I *know* how much calmer, relaxed and mentally at peace I would be if I did it. I’m aiming for yoga this Sunday!
Welcome to the blog my lovely- so glad you’re here! You’re exactly the same as me- think I’ll be joining you on Sunday! Let me know how you get on! xx
Mmmm Yes, I am feeling into the words written here, You are all truly amazing women… I too have been waiting in the wings until I felt ‘strong enough’ I look forward to reading your blog Monica…. Yoga has been on my wish list for so long, i have attempted a few classes, but yet to find one that is gentle enough for me…. So home Yoga sounds like a plan…. Once again thank you Katie for sharing this post with such grace and honesty…..xxx