Often, students tell me that it’s getting too hard, and they leave class hating themselves or hating Yoga.
I looked at them and said, “Please keep coming to class.”
Yes, Yoga is hard work, and it’s challenging by nature because being designed to bring stuff up. The objective of Yoga is to turn us toward ourselves, and it’s up to us to cultivate the attitude of loving-kindness first. Asana means “seated,” but it also means “attitude.” What is the posture or attitude you take toward yourself? When we can meet our challenges face-to-face or even sideways, we learn that there’s no way through but to go through. Doing hard things is part of living.
I often say, “Don’t let yoga ruin your life.” meaning:
1. Don’t let Yoga get in the way of enjoying your life.
2. Don’t let Yoga add to your self-hatred story.
3. Don’t let Yoga be another reason to be hard on yourself.
Doing hard things is part of living. As my yoga teacher, Brain Kest likes to say, “How we do one thing is how we do everything.”
“Like Yoga, like life, there is no one “right” way for everyone. Whatever way we engage the practice of Yoga, one thing is essential to remember that “quitting” is optional. Trust your inner self, and if Yoga is “getting too hard,” it’s time for a different approach. In my experience, if you want it, it will never leave you alone if you do take a break. Yoga is always with you for “the practice of yoga, and the experience of yoga is the same.” –Bhavani Maki, The Yogi’s Roadmap.
I have gone through periods not practicing; we all have. Yoga is physically challenging because the discipline works muscles that I didn’t even know I had. However, I realize that by learning new ways of being in a relationship with myself and the world, I can remember to entrust myself to the teachings of Yoga. I can discover and enjoy the work of finding the ever-elusive balance between effort and surrender.
So, please keep coming to class. Let us together find a new way of being connected to this thing called life.