[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Lindsey Lewis, yoga teacher, life coach and founder of www.libreliving.com.]

Grace doesn’t grow from strain and struggle; it arises when we let go.

On the mat

I used to think that if a pose was easy for me, it meant it was an easy pose—for everyone. I figured that if I felt strong, energized and calm in Warrior II then everyone did. Never mind the fact that every body is different. Never mind the fact that we’re all in different mental states—not just from each other but from moment to moment. Never mind the fact that different teachers teach things differently and following one teacher’s way of teaching may be easier than following another’s. If a pose was easy for me, it meant it was an easy pose—for everyone. Picture me with blinders on—like a horse plodding one foot in front of the other, seeing only the narrow vista right in front.

Here’s what I didn’t see: that when a pose was really challenging for me, it was me that was challenging the pose, not the other way around.

There I was in Warrior III, wobbling and tipping (and cursing), and my mind is going “Well, hey, of course you’re falling over, you’re on one leg. You’ve got your arms outstretched in front, too, silly. You wanna be stable? Ya gotta stand on two legs.” So I kept wobbling and tipping and cursing.

Until this: I remembered that our bodies are made for asana. And asanas are made for our bodies. In fact, standing on one leg doesn’t have to be difficult at all. But it will be if we convince ourselves it is. If we let our minds tell us it’s unnatural, we’ll topple for sure. But if we don’t….

Whaddya know? My next round was strong and solid—one-legged and everything.

Off the mat

How many times do we tell ourselves something will be hard, or the same as it always is, and it is? What might happen if we told ourselves it would be easy, and better this time?

Imagine what this might do:
– During an interaction with a co-worker you usually clash with
– At your in-laws place
– In a conversation about a topic that usually turns into a fight
– And on and on and on it goes

What recurring challenges do you face? When do you tell yourself that something is hard because it’s hard? Where do you challenge the instance and by doing so make it challenging? Where could you re-program to find ease, grace, and power?

As for me? My horse still likes the blinders, but we’re practicing taking them off as much as possible. He likes chocolate as a reward.

8 comments

  1. This is sooo true and something I have learned from yoga as well. Once I look around and see what others are doing and pay attention to them I wobble. Or when I think its hard it is. Until i just say in my mind just do the pose! And its a little easier. I wondered about when poses were easy too. What that meant. Im a newbie so i think the opposite. If i dont get it i should because others do. Its a great challenge yoga in all ways and it is always rpgood to remember how to take if off the mat. Thanks! Xoxo

  2. I love this sentence from the last paragraph, “When do you tell yourself something is hard because it’s hard?” This really offends me… in a good way! Reading that sentence, I realized that I use that kind of self-talk as an excuse, and all it does it reinforce that I will have difficulty with that pose, that person, that situation. I want to find ease in the places in my life where I currently find stress or frustration by telling myself, “Hey, this doesn’t have to be hard.” Our expectations so powerfully impact our experience, and I want to strive to bring positive expectations to everything I do.

    I also agree- every body is different, every perspective is different, so no comparisons! What a great reminder!

  3. I used to say, as many (most?) teachers say…”rest in child’s pose”. But blinders off…child’s pose is NOT restful for some people. And in labeling it restful across the board, I negated individual experiences. Now if I’m encouraging or offering an opportunity to rest…it’s just that…no matter what shape it comes in.

  4. I am somewhat new to this whole yoga thing, but I do have to say that I love it! And I love this blog! This is so inspirational! With being new to this whole thing, I was wondering if anyone had any begginers tips? If you do, pleasee let me know!

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