Yoga is a practice, and it is one that I have been doing since 2013. It changed my life and it is what led me to get certified as a yoga instructor. One of the things that was instilled in me by my yoga teachers is that yoga is about “practice not perfection.” Perfection is an old friend that kept me paralyzed for many decades from doing new things and making changes in my life. Perfection also helped my mind maintain a chronic steady state of anxiety, fear, self judgement etc. in other words not it was not helpful.
How do we move forward in life? What is the catalyst that makes you change? What are the limiting belief systems that keep you stuck and feeling uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to change. I think the reason is because we “know it” and the mind, especially the anxious mind likes to “know” and we are naturally drawn to go towards what is “known” because even though its uncomfortable we “know it.”
Then how do we move out of the “known” into the unknown called change? You have a little bit of anxiety, or a lot of anxiety. Either way, making change can be downright scary right? Especially when we have limiting beliefs that we have cultivated about ourselves in our minds for years or decades. Some people have success with overnight change, and it may work for awhile until faced with a situation where the mind’s voice kicks in and your previous limiting belief shows up. It may actually look different than the old one you were carrying around, but after a bit of exploration you uncover that is the very same limiting belief dressed up in new fancy packaging, and it hits you hard. Sometimes it may hit you hard enough that you give up on the change altogether, why bother right? You may even decide to start something new to focus on changing. “Yes” the mind says, “go and do that!” However, here’s the truth, *“No matter where you go, there you are!”
Why do we do this? Change can be hard, but dramatic sudden changes while proactive, may also be temporary. We try to take on the whole change at once so we can see results. We want change to happen as fast as our computers and iPhones, we want it instantly and we want it now!
When we practice yoga and are learning a new posture (asana) we typically aren’t able to do so with perfection. It takes practice and it takes time for the body and mind to change over time and to experience what they call in yoga “sthira sukham asanam” which means “steady and comfortable” in the posture. Change can be the same way.
What if we thought of change as with each step you take forward, you are practicing towards making change? You are allowing the mind and the body to learn to start to experience steadiness and comfort with the changes that you are making. It’s the practice of changing one step, one thing at a time that will help calm the anxious mind, the limiting belief mind, the distracted mind, and the “I need a quick fix mind”, which will keep you from running away from yourself and opening endless packages that all have the same thing in them.
Long term change is a practice, and with practice comes steadiness, stability, comfort and ultimately more ease. With practice you can learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and use it as an energy that brings you into further awareness of who you are and having clarity of how your thoughts are holding you back, and still allowing yourself to choose to practice changing anyway.
*Quote “No matter where you go there you are.” is from the movie "The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai"