Answering my questions about yoga, frustrations and coping strategies
I have recently asked 3 questions to several people who come to my classes about their life and practice, to know them better and to help them better.
What I didn’t realized was that I wasn’t answering those questions myself, until one of them asked me “what about your answers?”. (Thank you you-know-who-you-are for turning my attention inwards!)
So here they are the questions and my answers:
- What is the main reason why you practice yoga? And the second?
The main reason why I practice yoga is simply because it makes me happy. I have discovered that I am most happy when I’m developing myself and by practicing I’m developing both body and mind, learning about deeper and more subtle aspects of myself. It helps me to improve my observation skills and deal with the transformations that happen in my body, mind and life as a whole, in a calmer and more confident way. All that happens during the practice can be interpreted as a metaphor for life. Achieving a new pose can bring the confidence to know that I can reach what I put my energy into, or not being able to do some pose teaches me to accept my own limitations with patience and peace.
The second reason is that it gives me strength. Both physically and mentally. When I practice I feel that my body is energized and my mind is more focused. I’m more confident and efficient. That leads me to embrace challenges that otherwise would seem too ambitious.
In short, yoga for me is a form of self therapy for inner connection and happiness; it is a constant learning experience that refines the art of living, empowering me to live more.
- What are your biggest frustrations with life / fitness or yoga?
My biggest frustration in life is probably my perfectionist-stiffness.
Something I believe I got early on as a little girl practicing ballet, this perfectionist-stiffness can spread like a weed into all areas of life, repeating a negative thinking loop of “if it’s not perfect -> it’s not good enough -> is not worth it”. Doubts about self worth begin to pop up everywhere, the enthusiasm for life starts to sink, every day inertia feels safe and depression turns into a friend. This stiffness is for me the most important to keep on working on.
Frustration with fitness I would say it’s my cardio condition.
I’m not very found of sweat unless I’m doing something I absolutely love, like yoga in India with 34º (which by the way it’s about how far I go with hot yoga).
The music has to be right for me to dance, if you know what I mean. But as a way to become more flexible on this, I have started jogging. Slowly and with no music.
With the practice of yoga, the correct answer is that there are no frustrations. Having a yoga frustration is almost as having sugar in your detoxing tea, but sometimes it happens. Sometimes I find myself frustrated by not being able to do some of the things I was able to do before, when I was training my body intensively for dance. I turned my back on dance to start playing bass and to study psychology and, while I don’t like to regret anything, I do wish I had continued to develop my body and I do wonder where I would be in my practice if I hadn’t stop for so many years.
- What do you think could help you overcome those frustrations? (Have you tried those strategies? If yes, did they worked?)
To let go of my perfectionist-stiffness I try to remind myself to take risks and explore the art of error.
If there was a time in my life where inertia seemed comfortable, now I’m experiencing the absolute opposite. I have found pride in seeing myself as an active creator (whether I choose to stay in bed or get up and do something, I’m equally being active in the creation of every situation), and with this new perception came a sense of responsibility to, rather than create something perfect, keep creating the best I can.
So instead of letting my critical voice win me over, I am happy and grateful for being a productive and creative person and I pat myself on the back for the bravery to take risks. That’s how I can bring my projects to life and not be overwhelmed by the fear of non-acceptance and failure.
About my cardio condition, jogging has been my latest challenge which has given me some mind flexibility as well. It’s been hard, but it’s working.
With the practice of yoga the strategy is, just like in life, acceptance, acceptance, acceptance. I practice on accepting the way things are and try to keep the self discipline to be on the mat at least 5 times a week, and on the meditation cushion e-ve-ry day.
I keep reminding myself that it’s not about a final destination but about how I feel during the journey.
So, every time I feel some frustration coming, I take another deep, full breath, expand my lungs and give my heart the space to smile to the challenges and for having the courage to take them. I can tell you, this works too.
What would your answers be? Have you asked yourself these questions?
Leave a comment and tell me about your experience, I would love to learn from you.