As I was flowing on the mat this morning, something my first yoga teacher had told me kept crawling in: ‘In yoga, you have to start with what you like’.
I only marginally understood him at the time. Today, 2.5 years later, his words have a lot more meaning.
2.5 years into my yoga journey and I am nowhere as near as where I could be and yet so much further away from where I started ))))). Triconasana (triangle pose) used to be one of my favourites but today I don’t have favourites anymore. Today it is so much more about ‘integration’ in my practice, about combining, opening, challenging, soothing, in various proportions depending on the day, the period and my state of being ))))
However, I would not be there had I not started with, looked forward to and rejoiced in what I ultimately liked the most then: my triconasana – triange pose.
Was I ready? No. Are we ever? No we aren’t. But then what made me do it? I took a decision to try, a decision out of hope, to try yoga out. Was I afraid? Probably, considering I had breathing issues, and wasn’t sure I can make it physically. But, I must have replaced fear with hope, and decided things can not really get much worse. (This is what we all ought to do when we are afraid. Recognise, then turn fear into hope, and do what made us afraid in the first place. … Because fear is human, and like all else, a source of energy to drive us or not forward.)
As I took this decision, I also trusted there were going to be things, people, situations along the way to help me on this journey, a journey I had no idea where it led. I had no idea what those things were going to be – I can only articulate them now – but I trusted, I had faith, I knew this CAN work, I wanted to try.
And this is precisely how it has been: there have been teachers, other practitioners, yoga mats that stick well so that you can hold on well onto a challenging pose, props, blocks, blankets, yoga studios, everything to help me get along the way.
And so this morning, as I was flowing on the mat, I somehow remembered all this. And I could also see a clear analogy between my yoga journey and the way we, or I try to go about life.
Because my yoga journey illustrates really well, with the deep mechanics of it, that the state of readiness doesn’t exist. Originally created by our brains to protect, and preserve us, ‘I am not ready’ often actually stops us not just from progressing, but also from living.
Perfection is procrastination, as I heard a communications expert say recently.
And so yes, or rather no, we are NEVER really ready for that new job, to start a new relationship, to fall in love again and make ourselves so vulnerable (but also live something beautiful), to move countries, etc. No, we are never really ready for that interview, or for the exam that’s coming, or for the workshop to facilitate tomorrow. If you think about it, you will see that probably most if not all of what you planned didn’t happen the way you planned. Or if it did, it was adding to, but not living.
Readiness is an illusion. What we do instead (apart from preparing) is making a choice between hope and fear and moving forward. (There is a third choice, prioritisation, not discussed here.)
If we choose hope, we are dancing. We might still fall but the light is on our side. We get up and try again. If we choose fear, we are frozen, and as much as this is also a kind of swap of energies and in that sense moving forward, we are making an active choice to stay away from the light (or enlightenment).
And, if we choose hope as I did on my yoga journey, we start with what we like and can do well )))) That is how we get into it.
Similarly, we start a new job by using our innate and learned strengths, and we use those to grow and learn more and more. We start a new relationship by (I guess …) trusting it will go well, by putting ourselves forward, by practicing the good we have known from previous relationships, by speaking openly about our fears, sometimes only to discover new amazing things about ourselves and our partner. … And this is how after a couple of years, we have a totally new experience in the bag, nothing like what we could have planned or thought could have happened.
So this is what my morning practice taught me this time around. It reaffirmed my deep conviction life is not possible without hope (like my name, Nadejda )))). That we are never really ready unless we take the plunge and try. That life on the mat is often life in real life.
… As I often wobble on the mat, I also struggle with these choices in real life. But, I am willing to try. And I think this makes all the difference.