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’m honest, I’ll tell you that I get total 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 ever since. And recently I applied it to my life outside of yoga.
“I know you are hating this pose right now. I know it hurts. I know it’s difficult. But can you breathe through the difficulty and find a way to be okay with it anyway?”
This couldn’t have resonated with me more. My life is pretty nuts and stressful most of the time, and often I find myself waiting for the storm to pass so I can feel calm and settled. I always think that if I can just get through a stressful time, I’ll eventually chill out and catch my breath.
The thing is, there will always be stressful periods in life. There will always be storms. There will always be difficult times. Waiting for some perfect stress-free time to breathe and to catch your breath might mean waiting forever. Instead, we should be developing and nurturing the skill of finding islands of rest and taking care of ourselves while we’re in the middle of 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?