Embrace struggle

„Embrace struggle. While almost all yogis struggle with the poses, the struggle is meant to be a teacher. Wherever you meet your challenge is where your yoga begins.“

(Kino McGregor)

This is not only true when it comes to yoga, but exactly the same off the mat. When accepting this while practicing, the next level is to integrate this approach – or is it an attitude? – into the rest of our lives. 

My call was yesterday. Early morning, my home office desk packed with two laptops and two mobiles and I put my cup filled with hot lemon water on the desk. You guess right…. somehow my hand sticked to that cup when I turned…. yup, my work laptop received a hot bath, while everything else just got a bit wet. I stayed surprisingly calm, but hesitated slightly what to rescue first. It was a disaster. The entire desk turned into a pool. After drying everything, it didn’t seem to be too bad, all was working. Well, for 5 minutes. The screen started flickering and boom, dead. My day packed with meetings and no work emails or work chat on my mobile. I couldn’t tell anyone. Baaam.

IT wasn’t much of a help, as they deal with PC, not Mac. Plus, home office doesn’t really support any quick fix here.

Embrace the struggle. What was it teaching me? That I should get my work emails on my phone? Eventually. What else? To stay calm. To figure out, what I can do, accept what I can’t. The world will continue moving anyhow. My old me would have panicked, making a huge noise, driving everyone mad…. somehow I managed to stay calm, even understanding those who could not help at all or reacted a bit shitty. Overall grateful for an idea that somehow lead to the next and the next and finally to a new laptop. 

Later in the evening, when I kind of collapsed on my sofa, I felt this internal restlessness and it took me hours to release. The effect of keeping countenance all day long. Of practicing yoga all day. Yes, yoga off the mat.

Today I laughed about it. Even though I lost many files and notices. So what. I can’t change anything about it. I’m proud that I managed this challenging situation this way. My yoga is paying off. Very grateful. 

The beauty of Aging

Many of us experience some changes around the age of 50. I’m not talking about any kind of midlife crisis or menopause for women, while this might also be a trigger to rethink where we are in life. No matter the reason, it seems to be the time to reinvent oneself.

A friend of mine, who turns 50 this year, takes this as an option to rethink what he wants his life to be and he takes the necessary changes. Those changes can be quite big things; it might even come to a real turn over.

I heard from another friend who had a rigorous 6 days a week Ashtanga practice, that with her menopause starting, she allowed herself to be less strict and her yoga practice turned to be more calm, slow and gentle, always listening to what her body needs that day.

This time might be an entry point into a new phase of life, with new options, new strength, and the courage to change and eventually start something new. It might concern the job, the place we live, relationships, our practice or the entire life set-up; no matter what direction we’re aiming to go, if you feel called, do it. Even if aging shows us at this stage the first indications that not only the outer appearance is transforming, but also the body complains more. And hey, where is that fear coming from all of a sudden?

Many yogis start taking it easier at that point, while for me the full story started then. At the age of 49 I did my first teacher training and instead of getting calmer, my yoga journey took off and was at its best around 52. I’m 54 now and my body talks to me loud and clear, mostly not what I want to hear and I learned that it’s not always about doing the full Ashtanga series each day, it’s about showing up. Being on the mat every day, doing what I can. Luckily, my body is still improving, still learning, adapting, bending more, even if progress takes much longer. My practice teaches me to be patient, the most difficult thing to learn for me! To accept, that it’s totally fine where I am on my journey and not just that, it is phenomenal how my body and mind changed over the past few years.

We move on, the three of us, together, body and mind and soul. We keep on changing, improving, learning and the very new thing: we take it easy.