Today’s practice was tough. Of all the things that Revolution has focused on so far, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I found patience particularly difficult. I’m not a very patient person (understatement), particularly with myself, so really it was always going to be a challenge.
The focus was on the journey being the reward, the practice being the path. Essentially, to focus on where we are in the present moment rather than to constantly reach for an end point. To sit in and accept that moment and be patient when things get tough. For me personally, a crucial aspect of patience is not judging where I am in a particular pose, not beating myself up for not being further along than I am. As an impatient perfectionist, I want to be brilliant at something now, otherwise there’s really no point doing it at all. That’s a mindset that will just never fit with yoga, but things can’t change overnight.
There were times during this practice when I was able to be present with what was and to be patient with myself. My Dancer’s Pose, for example, wasn’t perfect (although it has improved), but whenever I wobbled, I managed to accept it and go back to the pose. The real issues with today’s practice came with the yogic squat / Crow and Elephant poses, which melded together into a big fat pile of triggers. I didn’t try Crow today, as my hips were incredibly tight, so I stayed with the squat. As I think I’ve mentioned before, this feels very hunched and squashed (despite my best efforts to lift my heart!), which taps right into one of my BDD-focus areas. The same was true of Elephant (although goodness knows I wasn’t able to do the full pose!). It just seemed to shine a laser-sharp beam of light onto areas that I feel particularly bad about. Being present can be so very difficult when you feel an intense physical dislike for the thing, or part of the thing, that is trying to be present in the first place.
The key with yoga, though, is how you use the tools it equips you with to deal with challenges and difficulties. I was so tempted to just stop the video a few times during these poses, but I didn’t. I stuck with it, breathed through it, focused on each breath and told myself that I was where I was and where I was was absolutely fine. Perhaps even more crucially, I managed to stop this all developing into a major issue or mini-meltdown once I’d left the mat. I tried to tap into the “full body experience” aspect that’s been cultivated over the past 20-odd days, and tried to feel and inhabit my body as one whole, rather than focusing obsessively on specific parts and their perceived defects. This didn’t make the problem go away, and I did stop looking at my reflection for the rest of the day, but it smoothed off the sharp edges and meant that I was able to get on with everything else that I had to do. That, right there, is for me as much the value of yoga as a strong core or flexible spine.
Adriene said today that “the process is the candy”, and it is. It’s the things that I’m learning whilst on the journey that are beginning to have an impact on my life. It’s not about not hitting roadblocks, it’s about how we overcome and get past those roadblocks. The journey might even be much less rewarding without them.