Yoga can provide you with techniques to teach you how to, at any moment, step into the eye of the storm.
Let me ask you something…are you confident enough to step into the eye of the storm?
Let me ask you this…why would you want to step into the eye of the storm?
Because that is where the growth is.
Or how about this – do you know your WHY?
Or this – why do you practice yoga?
To be flexible? To be strong? To help with anxiety?
Wrong answers! These are not your WHY as to why you bring yourself to your mat or meditation cushion each day. These are the results of practicing yoga. But your WHY is something else.
I didn’t know too much about this until I did my teacher training and we did deep transformational work with a “touch of yoga” thrown in, (which in turn ended up being the transformational work without us evening knowing!) Mind. Blown.
So, here’s my WHY:
‘To be strong and confident…on and off the mat’
Strong and confident on my mat with my asanas (arm balances, inversions, headstands, handstands – you know, all the fun stuff but all the hard stuff!) Strong and confident off my mat in daily life and the challenges it brings (enter Covid-19 and lockdown!)
So, what does my WHY give me?
It gives me ease, strength, confidence and guidance, but ultimately peace and happiness. And through peace and happiness I have grown so much more, without that even being the intention of my WHY.
Here I’d like to share with you 3 ways finding my WHY helped me to grow, and how finding your why, you too can grow:
1) Perseverance – on the mat
Let me ask you this, what is your worst yoga asana?
I have a few, ha! (You wouldn’t think I’m a yoga teacher!)
For me, here are a couple I find challenging:
– Half Moon
– Pincha forearm stand
Because my WHY is to be strong and confident on & off the mat, chanting this to myself whenever I’m faced with a challenging asana has helped wonders with my mind and mental state during a tricky yoga pose.
Let’s break down forearm stand, the trickier of the two. You need a whole heck of a lot of shoulder strength and core strength to hold this and keep a straight line. The body needs to be stacked with no banana-shaped back. You need to have open hamstrings in order to walk the legs in and stack the hips in order to come up into forearm stand with control, without kicking up.
This is my nemesis. But with these physical challenges comes the mental challenge and perseverance on the mat. ‘To be strong & confident on & off the mat’ – strong in my shoulders and core, strong in my mind (‘I’ve got this, I can totally do this!’), confident in not falling over and if I do, so what? You learn from every fall and it builds you up to grow.
So, what’s your challenging yoga pose(s)?
Have you thought about your WHY to help you with these poses?
2) Can do attitude – off the mat
In life what are your biggest challenges?
Is it raising 3 kids all under the age of 6?
Or perhaps, juggling work and the kids?
Or maybe your dream is to start your own business but you’re worried you are not enough?
For me it was the later. I used to do the whole 9-5 thing, but I was lucky, I loved my job (I designed shoes, and still do part-time.) But I always had a feeling that there was more to life. More to me. More to what I can offer the world and what I wanted to be a part of and create. Finding and connecting to my WHY, has 100% given me the belief in myself that I CAN DO THIS. It’s not there all day every day. But when those negative thoughts creep in (which they will do, we’re only human!) I chant back to myself in my mind my WHY, and faith is restored again in myself.
3) Eye of the storm – life’s biggest challenges
For me, it was when I was 37. My world stopped.
Dealing with grief is such a personal thing, it’s different for everyone. I’ve said goodbye to long-lost family members before as I was growing up. But this was different. This was my mum. My most amazing mum. We lost my mum suddenly to cancer, and my world hasn’t been the same since.
This isn’t a post about grief – or how to deal with it.
But more so, a blog post about how – even in the most challenging, sickening, confusing, upsetting, heart-wrenching times, in the eye of the storm, we can get through to the sunshine. Or at least, get through to a mild day with blue sky and no more storm.
See, life isn’t joyous 100% of the time. Yoga teaches us not to observe life through rose-tinted glasses, yet so often we do.
When life decides to turn your world upside down and rip away your mum, how do you cope? Sure, loved ones, friends & family are always there for you. But my WHY helped me on a much deeper personal level. I don’t talk about it with anyone. I haven’t really shared it with my family. It’s for me and me only.
And unfortunately, life is going to deliver many more storms to come, it’s out of your control, it’s natural. But how you choose to be when faced with the storm is within your control. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you chose to respond. This is where the growth lies. Or, as Baron Baptiste calls it, “the edge”:
The edge is where we come up right up against ourselves and what we can do and be. It is the boundary between where we are and where we grow, the place of comfortable discomfort, where all the growing and healing happens. The edge is the point in every pose when you are still within your capacities but are challenging yourself to go just a little bit farther. Stepping up to this edge and daring to leap is how you break through and thus break with old ways of being.
– from Journey Into Power by Baron Baptiste.
So, what does my WHY give me? It gives me ease, strength, confidence and guidance, but ultimately peace and happiness.
I urge you to find your WHY. And if you don’t know what it is – that’s fine. Explore it, dance around it, then connect and nurture it through your yoga practice, through your meditation practice.
Connect to your breath and let your breath guide you. Let the breath connect you–mind and body, body and soul. Let your breath connect your conscious and sub-conscious. Here we will explore and find our WHY.
Your Why Yoga:
If you have any questions or would like to know more about Finding Your Why, I teach Your Why Yoga – you can get in contact here.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Anna from Flamingo Yoga Maya. Anna teaches yoga with a strong emphasis on asking her students to find and connect to their WHY, using it as a driving force to guide them through life. She teaches Vinyasa and Yin, online, and her classes are relaxed and friendly. Anna has also designed a range of yoga tops with built-in towelling to wipe away sweat as you workout – you can shop the collection here.