For the last few weeks I feel I have been struggling in my asana (yoga posture) practice. Everything from my recent move to a new apartment, to a pending career shift, to the unresolved pain in my lower back/hip (and of course my own inner resistances) have kept me away from much physical practice.
Despite this, I have still been showing up for my practice in other ways. Some days I lay down my mat and roll out on a foam roller and lacrosse ball. I’ll read a yoga related text and spend a few moments just breathing. (All of this by the way, I am able to do at the Mindful Ascension Mysore Program hosted by my wonderful friend, Sean. I am so grateful for the space he has created there.)
But I still feel the longing for my physical practice. And I know I need to find the strength within me to get back to it.
Feeling the pangs in my heart about all of this I decided to re-read some of my own words about teaching and practicing. This blog, posted on Sequenched.com (a sequence building app for yoga teachers) reminded me of an ah-ha moment I had a few months ago, when my physical practice was much stronger, but still applies to where I am at today.
“One of the most profound lessons that I have learned from my own practice is that even when I feel that my inner progress is stagnant, it isn’t. Even when I spend days, weeks, or even months feeling completely disconnected, simply by showing up and doing the work on my mat, yoga also does its work on me.”
This excerpt reminds me that even though I feel like I have taken a step back in my practice, the mere fact that I keep showing up means that I haven’t… and that in fact…continuing to show up in the face of these struggles suggests that I have actually been advancing in my practice.
Just the other day, a young woman in one of my yoga classes came up to me after class. Becoming a bit emotional she confided in me (even though I had never met her before) that she was recovering from inner-ear surgery. She explained that some days her equilibrium and balance feels like its getting stronger, and other days all she can do is lay on her mat. Crying, she said she felt like she was moving backwards.
Her story rang so true to my heart, even though our situations were so different. I knew in that moment that the universe inspired this conversation to not only help her, but to help me as well. I gave her the message that I needed to give myself. It was the same message that showed up again for me today, as I re-read my own words… that sometimes the challenges we face in our practice make us seem weak, stagnant, and disconnected. But these challenges are, in fact, the same challenges that deepen our practice, making it stronger than it has ever been.
The message of this post is dedicated to the girl in my class, to anyone out there who has felt these sentiments, and to myself…. It may not seem like it, but these struggles show us that we are just on the other side of great transformation. Keep showing up. Do what you can. Be gentle and be kind. Move slowly and move mindfully. Listen to your body and listen to you heart — they will show you the way to your greatest potential.