by guest author Elissa Jordan
Seems I don’t trust myself.
I’ve recently committed myself to a 30-day sadhana or committed practice through 30 days of yoga. And as a result I’ve not gone anywhere near my yoga mat for days. Every morning I wake up and I have a talk with myself about how today is going to be different. Today I’m going to get up early. Today I’m going to respect my commitment. Today I’m going to practice yoga.
And then the excuses start – too tired, too stressed, too comfortable, too full, too hungry. Hot on the heels of excuse is guilt. Then I eat or drink the guilt away. And as I prepare to sleep I have a talk with myself about how tomorrow will be different.
The woman facilitating the sadhana talks about kindness. In all things be kind to yourself. And although her intentions are to encourage each of us in our personal journey – all I read is ‘You’re not good enough!’
It’s the pressure of the commitment that’s got me knotted up in fear and paralysis. I want to act. I want to get up everyday confident in my commitment to my practice. But it’s when I make these commitments, like I have with the 30-day sadhana, what I learn is just how little I trust in myself.
When I signed up it all seemed so easy. I can do this, I thought. No worries. I already practice most days anyways, what’s the big deal?
The big deal, it turns out, is that normally I practice most days because I want to, because my body wants me to and because I enjoy my life more when I do. But when I make a commitment, when I put hand to heart and commit myself to practice every day all of a sudden I have to practice. It’s not a choice. Yoga starts forcing itself into my everyday, demanding attention and respect, insisting I give my time over to it. And in this slight shift in perception all of a sudden I feel as thought I’m being tested.
How far can I go? How committed am I? Am I good or bad, right or wrong? And it’s given my confidence a right kicking.
Where in the past I would have taken this ‘failure’ and swallowed it, dousing myself with abuse, poking further holes in my self confidence and ignoring completely that I’d ever heard of this commitment I’d made; I have since learned that the quickest way to free myself of this negativity is to share it. There is no shame in failure. Even if I don’t accomplish the goal I set out to achieve, I can still grow and learn.
And I’ve realised that although I may not be practicing physically – I will be spending this time in preparation and practice of just being compassionate with myself. Where I would like to spend 3 hours, it may be that I need to start with five minutes. Where I am drawn to the physical practice, it may be that I need to focus more on meditation. I need to accept where I am today and not force myself to where I want to be tomorrow. And when I think too tired, too stressed but really hear too scared, I’ll give myself a break. Start with some breathing. Inhale, exhale. Bring the practice back to where it all starts and see where it grows from there.
I started writing this post over a week ago. At the time the internal struggle I described above was affecting all parts of my life. I was crying and irrational at home, angry and defensive at work. I was fighting with myself all the time. I sat down and started to write. My first draft was raw. Sitting down to refine the draft a week later I realised that already I was beginning to feel absolved of this heavy burden. And now by going through the process of writing I’m feeling lighter as I’ve finally let myself relax. I may not have been able to build a daily home practice this time around but I’ve definitely learned something about myself and my practice.
When she’s not earning a living as a Digital Marketing Manager with a leading New Zealand charity, Elissa is a belly-dancing, blog-writing, cycle-commuting, vegan-cooking yogi.
She started seriously following a regular yoga practice about three years ago after several start-stop attempts. Never one to give up on something she cares about, yoga and Elissa are now crossing paths on a daily basis.
Elissa is new on the Wellington yoga scene having recently immigrated from Canada by way of London, England. She’s looking forward to the day AcroYoga makes it to New Zealand and has brought with her teaching qualifications from the British School of Yoga, A.M. Yoga and the Sivananda Vedanta Ashram in Neyyar Dam, India.