A few weeks ago I was taking a Yin class at my favourite yoga studio that I was finding particularly challenging. It was tough for many reasons, I imagine, like the fact that I hadn’t been to yoga in several months, that I had a stressful work day, that I was preoccupied with thoughts (worries) about the health of a loved one, and because it’s Yin – a class notoriously challenging to stay focused given minimal movement and extended time holding poses. It’s easy for your mind to wander!
Being so focused on all these other things, I found some of the poses nearly unbearable. Holding frog pose for 5 minutes was just about my idea of hell. But then the instructor spoke of an idea that I’ve been thinking about a lot ever since. Not only did it help me in the moment, but in every class (and several other life events) since:
“It’s not for forever. It’s not even for very long.”
I held onto this idea as I entered the next extended-hold pose that I find particularly tough – hero pose. I actually repeated what she had said over and over in my mind, and something miraculous happened. Instead of thinking about how trying the pose was, and rushing myself through it, I actually kind of enjoyed it. I let go, and embraced the discomfort because I knew it wasn’t for forever. And in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t even for very long.
Sure, it’s a little new-age hippie-esque, but in that moment (and many others since), there’s been something about this mindset that I’ve found very helpful. The instructor described how entering a pose or a situation with a positive thought – instead of a negative one – sets the tone for the experience.
If you believe in the general idea behind the law of attraction, this makes more sense. It’s easier to have a positive thought after another positive thought than it is to have a positive thought following a negative one. So instead of starting out with a thought about how something is too difficult, too painful, too unattainable, you can go into something – even something unpleasant – recognizing that it is temporary, and adjust your mindset and expectations based on the fact that whatever it is will be short lived.
Whether it’s a yoga class, a stressful work situation, or a difficult time in a personal relationship, it’s probably not for forever, and it probably won’t even last for very long in the grand scheme of things.