Overcoming Pitfalls and Committing to Your Healing Practice

October 17, 2018

Computer-generated image of a woman exercising.

Dear Yoga Teacher,

Due to a busy schedule I am forced to cancel my membership for the upcoming period. I hope that when everything quiets down I can find time to resume lessons. Thanks for everything. I have benefited enormously from your teachings.

Kind regards,
Debby

For the first time in my life I had found a sport that I could do consistently. For two and a half years I went faithfully to yoga once a week. I was stretched and bent like a pretzel and I felt how much benefit my body had during this weekly one and a half hours of intensive activity. I made sure that I never planned an appointment on that Thursday night because I knew I would definitely notice if I missed even one lesson.

Computer-generated image of a woman exercising.

“‘Rocking’ My Boat” by Jo DiFulvio

Don’t get me wrong. I sometimes had to drag myself by the hair to get to the yoga school. I was so comfortable on the couch or my week had been so hectic that I’d rather do nothing. (That downward-facing-dog…yuk!) Or those moments I walked into the gym and saw all those torture machines. (Headstand bench? No thank you!) But afterwards I was always so glad that I did my yoga. I felt relaxed and noticed less stress in my body. After a week of hard work at my desk it had a big impact on the tension in my back and neck. Oh, and how well I slept after exercising!

A few years ago I had what they now call burnout. It was definitely not my best period, but it eventually yielded a lot. After a year I had learnt how to recognize and acknowledge early signs of stress in my body and my thinking. And more importantly I knew how I could reduce those signs of stress.

So last month, when I caught myself being extremely strict with my children, raising my voice more than usual, responding in an irritated way to my husband—but especially the agitated feeling in my body—breathing rapidly, sleeping restlessly and worrying, I knew it was time to take a minute and reevaluate my life.

It was a very busy period: many appointments in the evening, for my work, study, for the obligations at my children’s school, so many things that I could not get out of.

I decided to take a good look at the essentials. There was not much I could skip, work and study for the obvious reasons. The obligations at school? No, that didn’t work either because as chairman of the “Fancy Fair” you can hardly say: “Guys I’m not going to be at the meetings.”

Then what? You guessed it. Those yoga classes every week were also an obligation and before I knew it, I had canceled the one thing that gave me that important relaxation.

And that was it! I had stepped into a pitfall.

Sometimes the first things to go are actually the most important ones: the hobbies, the sports, the moments of rest. Maybe for you it’s the moments that you would normally sit on the couch with a book, or the monthly outing with friends, the stroll along the beach, having that coffee at a cozy café, those things from which you come back with a smile on your face. Your daily life just keeps on going and you hear yourself say; “No, count me out. I’m too tired for it.”

But if you are going to delete those things that give you energy…how will you ever get out of that stress spiral? I can tell you: YOU WON’T! No, your agenda won’t get any less busy. The empty holes will be filled up unnoticed by the next thing.

The problem is not all those appointments. It’s in your beliefs, beliefs of who you should be. Ask yourself: what is really important now and why? So, for all those must-do’s and have-to’s, it’s time to get to work on all those “crazy” beliefs that have slowly crept into your life again.

As for me I’m going to give myself a swift kick in the (yoga) pants and write a new email:

Dear Yoga Teacher,

Because of my busy schedule I am forced to renew my membership for the upcoming period. In the past I have not had any benefit from omitting my moments of rest.

Namasté,
Debby


One comment:

  1. Anne Bachop

    October 17, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Well said!

    Reply

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