I’ve been taking a few yoga classes a week for three years now. I don’t consider myself a serious yogi but I love my practice and I’ve been focused on learning more about it, beyond just the physical movement and poses. This has meant reading a few books and also actually listening to what my yoga teachers say during class and trying to be thoughtful about it.
Yoga is much more a state of mind than it is twisting into a crazy shape (although if I am honest, I will tell you that I totally get pose envy when my mat-neighbor does something I can’t do.) And one of the things I’ve been trying to do more is bring what I learn in yoga into my life off the mat.
A few months ago my teacher said something that has stuck with me since. And for the first time I actually put it to use this week — and I wanted to share it with you.
Our teacher looked at our pained faces and said:
“I know you are hating this pose right now. I know it hurts. I know it’s difficult. But can you breathe through the difficult and find a way to be OK with it anyway.”
This really struck a chord with me. As I’ve shared here before, my life is pretty nuts and stressful most of the time. And sometimes I find myself waiting for the storm to calm down to feel calmer and OK. I feel like I just need to deal with it, get through a stressful time, and then I will chill out and catch my breath.
Thing is, that is a really bad idea. There are always going to be stressful periods in life, there are always going to be storms, there are always going to be difficult times. Waiting for some perfect stress-free time to breathe and to carve out a little time to catch your breath might mean you’re waiting forever. Instead, I think we all have to develop and nurture the skill of finding islands of rest and taking care of ourselves while we are in the middle whatever storm is going on in our lives.
So the next time you’re in the middle of a stress storm — at home, at work, with friends, anywhere in your life — can you find a way to breathe through it instead of waiting for it to be over?