On this journey we travel we learn to cope and deal with the stuff, good and bad and everything in between. I like to think that we are handed opportunities and how we handle them is all part of walking that journey. When deciding on the yoga practice I wanted to set for myself, I thought about how I wanted to feel afterwards. Even though yoga sessions are not supposed to really make you feel one way or another as part of yoga is non attachment, I still wanted to finish my practice at peace and ready to take on my day. Sometimes I start out with one intention but something else creeps in and focusing my attention on working through that finishes it off. Again, the importance of non attachment and being able to be flexible and change direction if necessary.
While on my mat, I discovered a few traits that I know are both fantastic and yet can also be detrimental to my own growth. One of those traits that can be fantastic and yet detrimental is my stubbornness. While on one hand it shows that I am not afraid to tackle adversity and handle challenging situations without backing down and taking something to completion. It can be a hinderance to me when that stubbornness stops me from looking at an area of my life, business or something that needs to be addressed, thus stifling my growth and development.
Today’s yoga practice was very telling of my current situation. Situation not necessarily being a bad thing, but just my current state of how I do things and feel about things. Again not good or bad just status quo. However what popped up made me realize that maybe I need to re-evaluate how I approach my personal self talk. (You will find this a major theme in my writing right now as it is part of my journey and ability to crack the stubborn streak that keeps me from growing and learning.)
I love back bends. I love wheel pose. I really love that it just gives you that feeling of accomplishment and opens your heart to so many opportunities. Wheel pose is something that I loved to add to my practice as a peak pose to lengthen & strengthen, expand and open up. As of late, I had not been adding them to my practice, I was focusing my attention else where and had let the practice of working that pose go to the way side. I also had been spending more time in the car and in front of the computer, two activities that I know close off the front body and make the chest and hip flexors extremely tight. It also over stretches the back muscles causing weakness in the back body. Despite my efforts to maintain a well-balanced yoga practice, the driving and computer time trumped the amount of time I spent on the yoga mat. As a result my back bending suffered a bit.
At the same time I was working with a client on being open and learning to trust herself and expand her mind and heart and we did that with lots of practice of poses that enhanced those thoughts and feelings. We worked slowly towards wheel pose since that was one of the poses that seemed to intrigue her and she was curious about it. So each time we met we worked it and for a bit she struggled. I gave her some homework, gave her some reading and had her watch some demos on the wheel pose progression just so that she could immerse herself in learning it in different ways. Then something just clicked and one day we get to our peak pose and up she went and it was effortless and it was with good form and it was beautiful. She felt accomplished, I felt accomplished for her. She finally realized that it was not strength that was holding her back but through extensive journaling and reflection, that it was lack of trust in herself that was blocking her from fully expressing her wheel pose. This was a huge break through and I was so excited for her.
Now it was my turn. I had been putting wheel pose to the side and after all the excitement of my clients achievements I thought I would get back at it and undo some of the damage I had done with activities such as driving and typing. So on the mat I went with the intention of reversing the closed off and roundedness that was occurring in my upper back and chest. I asked myself to be compassionate as I worked through the process again as my intention for my practice. I knew that it was going to be a process and that stubbornness was going to sneak its way in. I wanted some of that stubbornness to be there, but the negative self talk and the desire to want to just say forget it also comes along with it. With the best of intentions I gave it a go, but I struggled and I would stop midway through to throw in the towel, but I used my stubbornness to my advantage and kept going.
The practices looked something like this:
Round 1: “Am I sure about this?” I feel like I have a weight on my chest” “what if I can not handle my weight.”
Round 2: “Alignment is good, I am ready to take this on…” “Up I go…nope…down I come…”
Round 3: “Maybe tomorrow…”
By Day 3:
Round 1: “Alignment set, I am ready to do this” ” Well that was not so bad, could be better”
Round 2: ” Up I go, oh hey I can give a little more” ” That felt good, its coming back
Round 3: ” OMG, I did it.” I could feel the space being created and my heart open up. I felt energy running up through my arms and legs supporting me effortlessly as I held wheel breathing steadily!
It took time but when I started to treat myself as a student and be compassionate and patient I was able to enjoy the energy (positive energy) that surged through me as I fully expressed a pose that I always came to as a pose that helped me to be open and accepting of all that I am working on and will continue to work on.
Lesson learned: When you treat yourself with respect and you use your traits for the greater good of your practice, you can accomplish and grow leaps and bounds. When you expend energy on activities such as negative self talk and using your traits against you continue to perpetuate the physical heaviness that might be holding you back from opening your heart to all the greatness the world has to offer. When you are light and positive with yourself you are much more capable of attaining the abundance of happiness and success that you deserve!