December 23, 2021

Forget about the Mindful Quotes: the One Thing Yoga taught Me.

Nothing wrong with a good quote, but yoga has so much more to offer.

I have to admit not being a huge fan of quotes, crystals, and other merchandise.

I am not saying that quotes are nothing more than marketing, but I have to note that many yoga teachers and coaches primarily post quotes to attract clients—not to spread actual wisdom.

But anyway, I want to talk about the one thing yoga and meditation brought into my life that has nothing to do with any of that.

Do you know this feeling when you can’t wait to get out of a pose? That moment your thighs start burning, and your legs get shaky. One of my teachers taught me that this moment is when the practice actually starts.

First, I thought he simply enjoyed torturing us by making us hold postures for far too long. But I was wrong. There is much more to this.

How long can you stay in a Downward-Facing Dog? How long could you stay in it if I offered one million dollars to you? And how long could you make it when your life depends on it?

The point of these questions is to show that our understanding of what we can do depends on how important it is to us.

The same thing happens in meditation. How long can you meditate? And how long could you actually meditate?

The moment a yoga pose or a meditation session becomes annoying and makes us want to do something more fun (like watching Netflix for hours) is where the actual practice begins.

The days we really don’t feel like practicing are the days when it really matters. That’s when we make the difference.

Am I still talking about yoga? Or am I already talking about life?

There are days when I don’t feel like writing anything. Sometimes I don’t feel like being kind to strangers at the supermarket. And I am no stranger to procrastination when it comes to fulfilling an important task.

It’s exactly the same dynamic when I skip a certain pose that I don’t like. It’s the same as not meditating in the morning because I don’t have time for that.

Of course, we should always be gentle toward ourselves. There is no need to stress ourselves out about a yoga pose or how long we can sit in stillness. But it’s a practice, so, in my understanding, we try to get better at something.

If we want to do better in life, we need to overcome the challenges thrown at us by the universe. And this won’t be fun at all times, but it’s still worth trying.

I am not a fan of the if-it-doesn’t-flow-let-it-go crowd. I think the opposite is actually true. If something pushes us to our limits and we start doubting ourselves—that’s where true progress starts. That’s how we evolve.

So, let’s end this on a positive note.

Do you know this amazing feeling after a vigorous practice? That feeling of being exhausted and content at the same time? That inner peace after a far too long group meditation? And that feeling after completing a project at work that caused so much stress and extra effort?

The challenging yoga pose is not fun while we are in it, but we most probably feel better afterward. The extra hours at work are anything but fun, but knowing that we made the world a better place also makes us feel better about ourselves.

So, let’s change from the let-it-go approach to the make-it-happen approach.

And if we can’t make something happen, that’s fine too. We can continue trying. That’s why it’s called a practice.

 

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