There are many reasons why I love yoga, but one reason that shines at the top of my list are the lessons learned that transcend beyond my yoga mat. Yoga has the power to teach us mental and physical stamina, how to “go with the flow” and be resilient. Yoga guides us to build the capacity to withstand life’s challenges.
During a vinyasa class at Hale Holistic last week, I was reminded of the choice I have in responding to various situations in life when times get a little tough, whether it’s personal, work related, or in the middle of a challenging workout. This particular sweat session heavily emphasized leg strength: High Lunge, Warrior II, Extended Side Angle, Triangle, and Reverse Warrior. I’m pretty sure we had some one-legged standing Tadasanas in there too! The class held each pose for 5 breaths – sounds easy until you get to the third set in the flow…
Virabhadrasana, aka Warrior II, is a pose that embodies the fiery spirit of a warrior and conveys readiness and stability. It was during Warrior II that I began to crack mentally as my physical body tip-toed around its limits of strength.
Kirk, owner and instructor at Hale Holistic, said “you may start to feel your legs shaking…” check! “you should feel this in your groin…” check! “this should start to feel challenging…” CHECK! My quads and groin were on fire, my legs shaking and sweat dripping from every inch of my body.
Those simple, yet impactful words encouraged me to send the thought of easing up happily on its way out of my mind. I sank deeper into my Warrior II with a mantra to find comfort in discomfort. On a side note, this is a mantra I use A LOT, especially during crazy hip opening poses! I used my ujjayi breath to send energy to my muscles that were burning with fatigue.
Then I gave myself a mental slap in the face! “Why am I here?” I asked myself, “To wuss out and give in when it gets tough? NO! I’m here to get stronger! I’m here to give my best on the mat, to test my limits and push a little farther. No one accomplishes awesome things by easing up.” I found a warrior spirit and renewed energy to glide gracefully through the rest of class.
The next time you find yourself facing one of life’s obstacles, or at a breaking point in a kick-butt workout, will you ease up and take the path of least resistance, or breathe deep and sink into that situation to prevail?
Peace. Love. Namaste.