“This pose is the hardest one you’ll face all evening,” I told them. “As gravity takes hold of your hips, the stretch will intensify. Notice your thoughts in this very moment,” I encouraged.
Those thoughts in this intense moment say more about you than you even realize.
Much like yin yoga (or any form of yoga, really), life gets intense at times. You face unexpected curveballs, and the weight of the world feels as though it rests solely on your shoulders. It’s messy. It gets uncomfortable. Sometimes it hurts, and often times your situation just plain sucks.
In those moments, I invite you to turn your awareness to your thoughts – the inner dialogue going through your head. Where does your mind go? What does the conversation sound like?
This sucks. I hate this. It’s so unfair. It hurts. I don’t know how much more I can take. I’m not strong enough. Why me? Suck it up, you pansy. You aren’t good enough. You just thought you were strong. Fine, quit. You can always move. You don’t have to take this. You shouldn’t have to deal with this…..The negative dialogue typically goes on and on.
Do you realize that how you show up for yourself is often times how you show up for the rest of the world?
When you talk in a negative way, do you tend to see the worst in people? Or maybe you always imagine the worst case scenario. When you blame others for doing this TO you, you remain in victim mode as rather than taking control of your life. When you run from the situation rather than sticking with it, you tell yourself that you aren’t strong enough to handle it; and subsequently, you’ll never be strong in any situation.
When you find yourself in a pose that’s hard for you or creates an intense stretch, I encourage you to tap into your greatest tool – your breath.
It is by far one of the most underused tools in your toolbox. And as I shared with my students Thursday evening, tapping into your breath slows your heart rate. By tapping into your breath, you focus on the inhales and the exhales rather than the sticky situation around you. When you tap into your breath, you calm the inner dialogue taking place allowing you to reframe your thoughts. When you tap into your breath, you create a margin of space between you and what’s taking place which gives you time to manage how you react.
Rather than running or hiding or closing out the world when life gets tough or sticky or too hard to handle, try taking a different approach. Instead, breath through it.
One breath at a time, the tension softens. One breathe at a time, your dialogue shifts. One breathe at a time, the clock moves forward. Before you know it one minute, one week, one month or one year goes by and that situation is a thing of the past.
When you tap into your breath in difficult situations, you grow in so many ways. You are stronger, more resilient, kinder and braver than you can ever imagine.
Next time you find yourself in a tough pose or generally sticky situation, I encourage you to turn to first notice your thoughts and then use your breath to manage your reactions.