Life can seem like such an uphill struggle sometimes.
Too much to do, not enough time.
Arguments with the family, friction at work.
Worries about your or your family’s health.
The media telling you should eat this and not that, that you should exercise like this and not like that. That you’re drinking too little, not enough. That you should be doing such-and-such for a happy life, live somewhere else, feel different, be different. Argh!!!
You crave a way to find a moment’s peace; to drop the angst and self-judgement and find some serenity.
Yoga *should* help, but…
It’s all you can do to drag yourself to your yoga mat at class – you don’t want to feel the struggle there too!
But the presentations of yoga in the media are all of stick-thin young white women balancing upside down or in a weird, gravity-defying knot.
No wonder I hear so many people telling me that yoga isn’t for them because they’re not flexible / fit / young enough. Many a time people have come to a class or a workshop for the first time and apologised in advance that they won’t be very good at it!
And that makes me so sad.
The yoga industry – and yes, many yoga teachers too with their pictures of themselves artfully shot in headstands or side-bendy-gravity-defying balancing poses – can be yoga’s worst enemy sometimes.
Portraying the practice of yoga as being about pursuing the body beautiful; challenging yourself; pushing yourself / your body to extremes. Finding your edge, pushing your edge.
So much struggle
But, for many, life is already a struggle. A balancing act. Tiring. Draining. Swinging betweens moment of joy and moments of pain; between health and illness; between self-acceptance and self-loathing.
We don’t want to bring that struggle to the yoga mat – you shouldn’t have to.
And for those of us who are less physically able, or are simply drawn towards a softer, releasing, more contemplative approach to yoga, then the popular images of yoga can create conflict in our minds: along the lines of “I’m not doing it properly”.
I remember once teaching a supported, restorative pose to a client in a 1-2-1 and them saying “this doesn’t feel like I’m doing yoga, it’s too easy!”.
A society in struggle
These internal struggles are compounded by the messages around the values and modes of action that society values.
We live in a culture which values more, more, more. We’re pressured into buying, buying, buying. Updating , changing, challenging, comparing … every single part of our lives. From our appearance to our kitchen to our personality. We’re even pressured to schedule every moment of our children’s waking life to ensure they achieve, become, succeed.
For those of us who are more introspective by nature, the prevailing culture of doing, shouting, showing, aspiring can be terribly draining and put pressure on us to be different – leading to feelings of inadequacy as we don’t feel like we fit in.
Do you feel it? I certainly do!
ENOUGH STRUGGLE ALREADY!!!
As a society, we need more heart. To value gentleness, listening, intuition, opening.
To get out of our over-analysing, trouble-finding heads; to give ourselves a break from doing, improving, changing, challenging, aspiring… and move into our hearts and a mode of being, accepting, softening.
That’s not to say that we don’t need to be doers, to be activists too. But not all the time. We need to rest, to accept, to listen so that when we do act it comes from a place of choosing, of connection, of reflection, of awareness, rather than chasing around, manipulating and coming from a place of panic and fear.
Stand up for a gentler way
So, it’s time to take a stand.
As an individual be a trail-blazer, an activist … by stopping, slowing down and valuing acceptance, calmness, quietness, ease, peace, quiet-resolve.
Challenge the popular image of yoga in the media and in the yoga industry.
And challenge society’s addiction to action /reaction and constant stimulation.
Practise yoga for me-time. To give your body loving attention; to let it release and heal. To nourish your soul. To let your spirit come alive. To quieten the din so you can listen to your heart.
Never feel guilty or conflicted when you know you need some quiet, slow time just to let your poor, over-taxed nervous system take a breather.
Seek out and create a safe, gentle space just to accept anything that is and arises.
Actively choose to stop doing and let yourself be for a while.
Show others, by your actions, that there is another way. A quieter, heart-led, softer path.
You don’t need to struggle
Do you agree?
Where do you find yourself struggling? In yoga? In your life? With yourself?
Does it resonate with you that you would benefit from softening, opening, releasing?
What stories do you tell yourself about these struggles? Are they really true?
The next (or first time) you step onto a yoga mat, set your intention to release the struggle. To simply move, breathe, and watch whatever sensations arise. And choose to be OK with them.
What I can offer you
I love Dru Yoga. We work at a pace and level which suits us. It is soft and flowing. But it also helps us to strengthen our body and find the inner strength, passion and joy which resides within. It helps us to connect to stillness, wisdom and equilibrium. At our own pace. Working with our body and mind, not against them.
So when you practise yoga with me, I won’t ask you to push yourself more than you want to. Yes you will move your body, of course. Yes, you will do things which you don’t normally do with your body 😉 Yes, it might feel challenging to some extent – see the previous two sentences!
But I won’t judge you if you can barely reach your knees in forward bend, let alone your toes. I won’t push you into poses. I won’t tut, or roll my eyes.
I aim to create a safe, non-competitive space for you to heal your body, accept your mind and nourish your soul.
I will share with you beautiful, transformational tools to work with your body, emotions and mind. And trust in you that you know what you need from them.
So, please know that you don’t have to struggle. That, in yoga and within yourself, there is a safe haven of quiet, nourishing, trust and acceptance available to you whenever you need it.
Serenity is within you.