Yoga has been my companion in all of my largest breakthroughs and changes in life for the past decade. Ever since I purchased my red yoga mat and started practicing, I have been taught patience, humility, durability, and strength, and I always find solace on my mat no matter what else is going on. If you are facing obstacles in your life at the moment, here are some ways in which yoga can help you break through, just as it did for me.
Although I have many lovely people in my life, I sometimes tend to fall back into this feeling of utter loneliness. It's a feeling that I'm somehow different, separated and alone. Yoga has helped me to understand the connection we all have to each other, and to the Universe. It has given me a new perspective into my own existence, and into the way I relate to others.
This doesn't mean that I never feel alone anymore, but when I do, a simple practice or a loving-kindness meditation allows me to break through this idea of separation and to feel the connectedness in my heart. And life sure is sweeter from that place.
Patience and Trust in the Process
Anyone who started their yoga journey as the least flexible person in the class knows that a journey towards your toes can take a long time. We are used to living in a fast-paced world where everything should happen in an instant, and years of practice to achieve something sounds like a lot of effort.
But there is something sacred in putting in the work, showing up again and again no matter how frustrating the process, and learning to trust that when the time is right, your body will open up. This has helped me overcome obstacles off the mat as well: the knowledge that if I just turn up, trust myself, and trust the process, everything is coming.
Strength in Vulnerability
After spending minutes in a Yin pose, you may feel like the most frail version of yourself. One of my teachers said that we temporarily feel like we’re 80 years old when coming out of a pose in order to feel strong when we are actually 80 years old.
There is an incredible strength in softening and vulnerability, and Yin yoga has taught me to transfer that softness into my everyday life as well. In this practice, we endure momentary stillness and discomfort in order to build a stronger version of self. What makes us strong is not always action, sweat and tears. Sometimes it's the quiet, long opening and surrender to vulnerability.
Sit with Your Sh*t
One of the hardest things in life, in general, is to sit with your sh*t. That is, when you feel sad, uncomfortable or restless, instead of running for distractions, to sit and allow all necessary emotions to surface. It is confronting, it takes courage, it's painful, and in all honesty I did not truly do it until I had to. Luckily by that time I had my own practice of yoga and meditation, and I felt safe on my red yoga mat.
I would crumble down and weep in Child's Pose, or just sit and meditate, reminding myself that this too shall pass. And it shall pass, eventually. But until then, sitting with your emotions in a loving, accepting way is necessary.
Yoga allows us the space to reflect and to inspect our emotions and our behavior around them, and it can give us the space we need between event and reaction. But this can be difficult to achieve on your own, and the best gift you can give yourself is a teacher or a group of yogis that will provide support in creating the necessary space for you.
Yoga teaches us the important balance between flexibility and strength, which helps us navigate the labyrinth of life. It offers valuable support with life’s many obstacles, and in my view makes them easier to deal with.
Image credit: Cetin Cetintas