I am stealing the title of this blog post from a great book written by Ryan Holiday. If you haven't already - read it!
Arriving at the mat is not always easy. There can be many obstacles in front of us. Some placed there by our environment, by others and often ourselves.
I have too much work, I have no energy, I don't feel like it, I am stiff and sore, I am not in a good mood - for me at the moment it is a broken wrist. These obstacles may be very legitimate, they may not. The thing is it is almost always possible to find a way to spend 10-15 minutes bringing awareness to our breath and to move mindfully.
It will can give you greater focus to work more effectively, it can energize you, it can build discipline, it can improve mobility and enhance recovery, it can uplift your mood and it can help heal your body.
The obstacle is the way.
Now back to me ;) How am I dealing with the obstacle I was presented with? At the start not well. I broke my wrist falling off my bike after not clipping into my peddles properly. My wrist hurt, my ego was bruised and I didn't feel much like doing yoga.
I also hate doing yoga on my forearms! The weakness in my shoulders comes to the forefront and my endurance in poses was negligible.
Being limited by an injury frustrates me, as it does most of us. At first I did not enjoy having to make adjustments to my practice. I like doing chaturanga, down dog and being able to step through into a lunge.
Even though I had a legitimate excuse (heck I showed you a picture of my brace at the start of this blog didn't I ;) I decided to approach this obstacle like the stoics and let it lead the way.
Creativity was needed to make classes I wanted to do work. So I got creative, which had the unintended consequence of my teaching being more creative. Specific strength and endurance in my shoulders was necessary to practice on my forearms. After neglecting my strength and endurance in those poses for years I now have it. Letting frustration influence my decisions never works out well. This time in a wrist brace has given me a chance to practice patience and acceptance.
Trust me I do not possess a zen secret that allows me to see all obstacles as positive. However I do have the ability, as we all do, to take a step back and figure out how to can learn from the challenges that are put in front of me.
How can you make an obstacle show you the way?
Is a 500-hour trained yoga teacher and therapist. He began teaching yoga after a 20-year swim coaching career.