It is often the case that our teachers tend to offer just the right story at just the right time. Once upon a time my teacher said that if we were standing next to a super powerful river and it
had no boulders in it we would likely not realize it’s power. If we were standing by another river
of the same strength and it had massive boulders in it, over which the water crashed and created white water we would have no question about the rivers strength.
The obstacles show the power. The strength. Obstacles and challenges don’t make us stronger – they show us the strength that we already have.
I loved this because I seriously dislike the saying “obstacles make you stronger.” When I am
facing an obstacle and someone says this it generally makes me want to scream. It is in the same annoying cliche category as “no pain, no gain.” Simply not true.
Growth can come from ease just as much as it can come from hard work. We experience growth and evolution when we allow it to happen.
When I was first learning headstand I struggled like crazy. It was so hard. Regardless of my
background as a dancer and my extensive knowledge of anatomy and movement I simply could
not do it. The harder I tried the worse it got.
One day my teacher held onto my ankles during a rare moment of balance and said “Don’t come down.” That was it. “Don’t come down.” I was so mad at him. I thought “Seriously? Like it’s that easy?” And you know what? It was. I stayed up for the rest of the 50 breaths.
Headstand continued to be a learning curve for me after that, but the struggle was different.
Instead of the asana feeling like a battle it became a practice in getting out of my own way. It
became a process of allowing and finding ease in the difficulty.
When it seems helpful for their growth I tend to ask really hard questions to the students in my mentoring group.
One of the questions is often: What are you not thinking about because you are so busy thinking about your body or food?
The answer to this question could be really hard.
Maybe you aren’t letting yourself think about how displeased you are with your job or relationship. Maybe it’s easier to think about food than it is to think about and heal past wounds and scars. Maybe you are so busy thinking about food and your body that you aren’t living your passions. Perhaps you aren’t even aware of what your dreams are anymore.
Take a moment and really think about it. Let the answer come. Allow the challenge to show you
your inherent strength.
What is your answer?
Please let me know. I would love to support you as you step into the life that you are meant to
Katie Ashley believes in living life on purpose. She has studied with and trained under some of the most renowned and respected teachers in the disciplines of meditation, yoga, integrative movement therapy, and yoga therapy. Her teachings offer her readers and students simple ways to bring their practice off the mat and meditation cushion and into their ever more purposefully lived lives.
Her first book “Living Life On Purpose” will be available in early 2016. You can find more about Katie on her website, www.katieashley.org
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