Change-challenged? Yoga can help. by Lisa Feder
One thing you can count on in life is that there will be change. Look around, it’s everywhere. Seasons change. Babies are born, and then they grow up. Friends and family move away and pass away. Hairstyles and fashions don’t stay the same from one year to the next. Jobs come and go. Relationships evolve, and sometimes they deepen and sometimes they end. Think about any area in your life, and you will see change. Imagine that your boss or spouse or friend calls you up (or texts you, as is more likely the case with all the changes in the way we communicate) and says “Things need to change”. How do you feel? Excited and optimistic or nervous and anxious?
Change is challenging, and it is constant. A change I recently made was leaving a steady job with smart people and a nice salary to pursue my passion for teaching Yoga full-time. “But you have it so good!” A few friends mentioned. “I guess if you can afford it” said others. And, a lot of “I admire people who do what you are doing. I’d be too afraid.” All of these friends know how much I love teaching Yoga and that I’ve been trying to make this change for quite a while. But even my friends, who are not actually making a change, are having trouble handling my change. It is hard for us to change, and it is also challenging to watch others change around us. I think my practice helped me to come to the final decision to make this particular change. In November, I added Ashtanga classes to my practice. Ashtanga has always been a big challenge for me, and the first few classes were so humbling. But it signaled to me that I had the courage to make other changes in my life, which is just one of the ways our practice can empower us. Once the momentum began, there was no turning back.
My practice has also taught me to let go of expectations. There is a Facebook post going around these days that says “Expectations are planned disappointments”. When you let go of expectations, the world really can open up for you. I let go of the expectation that I should always have the answer. It’s hard, but I am allowing myself to dive into the unknown. And the more I practice on the mat, the more I can identify when I am being limited by my expectations. It’s an interesting process.
I’m thrilled to be making this change. In the first week of my new life I have felt completely exhausted, even going to bed at 8:30 one night. Not what I “expected”. My wise friend today told me to embrace the change and just ride on it, and to take it a little easy. I will try.
Here are just 5 of the many ways Yoga helps us cope with change.
“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly slight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”