Recently I have noticed that my desire to practice asana, pranayama, meditation, & journaling has diminished. I have to force myself to keep my daily practice utilizing the practice of tapas, self discipline. But when I take a moment to self reflect (svadhyaya), I come to realize that I am having a hard time making it to my mat because the struggles of life have been weighing me down. It is in this realization & understanding that I muster the courage & energy necessary to put one foot in front of the other, crawl to my mat if necessary, but practice even when I myself resist.
See the thing is when times get tough the first thing we let go of is our self care, as if we could afford to do that! The only thing keeping me from drowning right now is that I am starting my day out with my practice, everyday. And if I happen to miss one day I don't beat myself up for it, but I am back on my mat practicing the very next day & so on. That's when the practice of tapas (self discipline) comes into play, keeping us from giving up & reverting back to old patterns.
But why do resist self care when life hands us a struggle? The truth is we don't want to sit with what we are struggling with. We tell ourselves that we are too busy to allocate time to ourselves, but nothing could be further from the truth. We want to keep things moving staying busy working on improving our situation because if we stop, find stillness, sit in silence, then we are forced to sit with the demon that has us so upset to begin with. But at this point we know better, we know that the only way to beat the struggle is through, not over, not under, not around... but through.
If we keep running, literally & figuratively, we never give ourselves the opportunity to feel the feelings & sit with them so that eventually we can let them go. Why do we avoid this at all costs? Because being vulnerable & confronting our feelings is scary as $h#t! None of us like to feel pain, helpless, hopeless, & scared, but if you don't sit with it you instead get the "gift" of carrying that baggage around with you like a ton of bricks hanging on your back. It is incredibly hard to face our fears & pain, but we have to decide which is harder; facing it & letting it go, or continuing to carry it?
The good news is that once we decide that we are going to be real with ourselves (satya) & feel what it is we are meant to feel, then the next time life hands us a struggle (because it undoubtedly will) we will be better equipped to feel & let go (isvarapranadhana). We keep practicing this process until it becomes second nature. Our daily yoga practice is not only about asana & movement, but more so the daily practice of living purely (saucha) & authentically. So that the next time life hands us a struggle we are better equipped to handle it & make it through to the other side a little lighter.
And blessed are our struggles because they force us to change & grow. Each struggle is truly an opportunity for us to become a better, wiser, more beautiful version of ourselves, if we let them. Instead of asking why me, try asking yourself what is the blessing in disguise? What is the lesson for me at this time? Yes the struggles we face are real, but it is up to us whether they shape us into a harder or softer version of who we are. The struggle is inevitable, but stay the course, your physical, mental, & emotional health depend on it.