"Think of yoga like wearing a pair of shoes,” my teacher said as she started the class.
This was a new visual for me and I tried to connect the dots.
She went on to explain.
“You can force your foot into a shoe that is too small and you’ll end up in pain and may possibly do some damage to your foot if you keep forcing it into a shoe that is too small.”
“You can also put your foot into a shoe that is much too big and end up flopping around with no support and possibly do some damage to your foot or ankle if you keep forcing yourself to wear shoes that are too big.”
“When you apply this concept to yoga, it’s clear. You can’t force yourself into a shape that doesn’t fit your body. Why would you risk hurting your body trying to do something that doesn’t fit with your body?”
Ahhh, dots connected!
I held this analogy in mind as I approached each pose during the practice and was able to see where I was forcing my body and then the ways that I could align my body with a shape that was right for me. After class I began to wonder if this analogy could be applicable off the yoga mat, and I think it applies in many circumstances.
Has there ever been a time when you have forced yourself into something that doesn’t fit your life? Maybe you said ‘yes’ to a volunteer job that didn’t fit into your jam-packed schedule. Do you have a friend who doesn’t respect your time, a boss who expects you to answer their email on a weekend evening or a fitness instructor who yells at you under the guise of motivation? Are there roles that you are expected to play that just don’t bring out your gifts and talents or joy?
Where might you be harming yourself or creating pain or instability by trying to force yourself into something that doesn’t fit your life?
Yes, not everything in life is going to be a perfect fit and sometimes we must put up with some pain or flopping around until we can make a change or find the adjustment.
And you are an adult!
You have a say in what fits and what doesn’t. This is not a case of wearing your pants pulled up to your mid chest because your mom doesn’t know what’s in style! Sometimes we all need the reminder that we have a choice and maybe it’s time to look for a better fit – whether it’s a relationship, job, geographical location, hobby, sport or even your actual shoes!
What might open for you if you stopped forcing yourself into something that wasn’t a fit for you? What kind of freedom and joy might you experience then? I’d love to hear where you feel like you are forcing yourself and where you have created the exact perfect fit.