A yogi once taught me not to measure anyone else’s pain.
Their worst pain is the same as the worst pain you’ve dealt with. But until perspective one-ups you, you just don’t know. This pain we all walk around with can be heavy. Even the lightest things become unbearable if we carry them around for too long. If I ask you to hold a piece of paper over your head you wouldn’t think much about it but if you had to hold it there all day gravity would defeat you.
As a yoga instructor I’m guilty of constantly telling my students to ‘let go’ of what isn’t serving them. But really what does that mean? And how do you do it?
It’s simple and it can be be accomplished with one word: acceptance.
We hold on to things we don’t want to accept. And that’s when the piece of paper becomes an elephant on your chest. What if instead of surrounding the things that ‘don’t serve you’ with fear and anxiety you approached them with curiosity and acceptance?
Okay I know, this is some hippie yoga shit… but believe it or not, it works. In fact, this is how yoga works entirely.
When you step onto your mat, at first it’s physical. You’re struggling and trying not to embarrass yourself. You notice the people around you effortlessly executing every move the teacher calls out. It’s hard, but for some reason you go back, again and again. Everything is impossible, until it isn’t and you’re finally getting it. And then, boom, one day some asshole cuts you off on the highway and before you react with the middle finger you instead took a deep breath and thought, ‘maybe there’s an emergency’. Then you think ‘wait, what? who the f*ck am I?’.
Yoga sneaks up on you, if you let it. It follows you off the mat into your car, your home, your job. You start to think and act more mindfully so in the darkest of moments instead of bracing for impact you can soften, observe, and accept what you cannot change. This is how yoga works. Now get your ass on a mat!
Staci McCool is the owner of Bluespot Yoga in Bexley. She is zen as hell.