‘Are you there god, it’s me Margaret’ but seriously, are you there god? I’ve been feeling the energy of my life pull me in another direction and I’m scared. It’s safe where I am; no judgement, no possibility of failure. But what’s the point of life? Playing it safe? Doing what I’ve always done? I preach possibility and limitlessness and yet here I stand frozen by fear. I’ve spent the last year getting my professional coaching designation and have completed over 30 hours of 1 on 1 sessions. And what’s the ‘why’ that makes me wanna cry? I’ve climbed arduous mountains, I am intimate with pain and how to navigate it. I’ve been stuck, I’ve failed and I’ve thrived. I am a life strategist and a lover of people. I listen and I care. If you want to take a deep dive and need an advocate for your greatness, I’m your girl.
You’ve changed. You’ve stopped playing small and started pursuing your goals. You’ve stepped up and it’s paying off. You’ve refused to be a victim of circumstance and are demanding your worth. The final obstacle is anavasthitvani, loss of confidence. With a new level of performance comes a new level of faith and efficiency. You feel overwhelmed by what is expected of you and unsure of whether you are able to maintain it. Yes, to remain at this level requires clear vision and momentum but remember, you don’t unevolve. Eat healthy, get plenty of rest, you’ve got this.
Why do you do what you do? To provide for your family, to follow your passions? What starts out clear can become muddy when the accolades and money flow. We can get sidetracked. A businessman attempting to create stability for his family, gets caught up in riches and neglects his family. The 8th obstacle is Alabdhabhumikata, or missing the point. When we confuse the dangling carrot for our goal we create patterns of greed and competition. When one becomes ensnared by this obstacle, it is like mistaking the brick and mortar of the temple for god himself. Stay steadfast in the pursuit of what you love. Otherwise you might find that while your bank account is full of green, and your heart is full of greed.
The fires lite. You've made big commitments. You'll read a chapter a day, practice 5 days a week, drink celery juice. One morning you was up tired, lazy, and not in the mood. You give yourself a pass. you can read two chapters tomorrow. Then one day off becomes two, then three. The 7th obstacle is alaysa: physical laziness. Believe me, no ones situation makes it easier for them to do the work. All of us show up tired, lazy, sad. The point is, we show up. Stick to your commitments, the fire burns breather each time you do it. Commit to your discipline. Know that the practice is designed to combat laziness.
Yoga saved me. Finally something to help me escape the pain of being me. Before yoga I found myself perpetually bored and impatient. I would comfort myself with booze, and food. Those distractions would make my day to day life bearable.
The sixth obstacle is Avirit, desire for sense objects. The desire for anything comes from the expectation of a reward. That drink will make me feel 'better'. There is nothing wrong with a drink, or a smoke, or a shag, but if you are attempting to regulate inside emotions with outside stuff, that's a problem. If sense objects are drawing you away from your drive, discipline and devotion, check in. You have one precious life, how do you want to live it?
We've been sold a lie. We've been told we need to hustle, make money, acquire possessions and focus on the future. We've been told that the world is scary and scarce, and that we shouldn't trust people. This mentality rehires us to place people and situations in order of importance. It makes us social climbers and opportunistic.
Bhrantidarsana, the 5th obstacle, is living under illusion or wrong understanding. Wrong understanding is that any particular moment, person, or situation is more important than the next. May we savour each moment we are presented with.
In the beginning it's so easy to care. You are enthralled and notice the subtleties. After a couple months or years, the object of your affection; be it a person, a hobby, a job, a practice, losses it's magical pull. You become slightly withdrawn, and less attentive. The fourth obstacle is
Pramada, carelessness or laziness. I hurt my neck doing the above postures (hard to believe). I entered it with negligence when I was tired. After that day, I vovled not to do that pose again. Why would I, If it hurt me. A year later, I've resisted it. I realize that if I run and blame every time I feel pain, there will be no depth in my life. Advanced poses are great because if we are careless the repercussions are obvious. But what about the softer things in life, how can we be attentive even when there is no risk? And why even bother?
You're smart and loving. You work hard and are succeeding. You paint the world intentionally with your words and take good care of yourself.
Sometimes you hate yourself...
Just a little.
Your desire to 'improve' can be propelled by a deep
doubt of who you are. The third obstacle is Samshaya, doubt and it is my tastiest self indulgence. Self doubt comes from a belief that although born perfect we have somehow become flawed while living our lives. This makes up indecisive and forces us to look outward. We look to someone, Oprah, our teachers, our friends, an insta-lebrity to find out where we fall on the spectrum of lovability and importance. In the forest, seeds that are planted at the same time grow at different times. Trust your timing and love your humanness.
Did you know your brain releases serotonin, similar to that of a drug addict when we speak about ideas. It's why people get addicted to talking about ideas versus following through with them. Dreaming up ideas feels as good as cocaine, in theory. That is to stay that brining our ideas to life can be gruelling. There will be red tape, there will be mistakes, there will be stress.
The second obstacle is Styana, a loss of interest or enthusiasm. When it hits, you feel like giving up. You wonder where the spark went, and whether you even liked it in the first place. Keep coming back to the why. Because doing this thing, is better than not doing it at all.
Like a mom sneaking grated carrots into brownies, I like to sneak yogic philosophy into my classes. My next 9 blog posts will be about the 9 obstacles on the path of a yogi or anyone trying to accomplish anything.
We've all been there, things are going smoothly when out of nowhere we get knocked by something that requires us to dig deep and persevere. A teacher of mine says it's the Demi gods, they've seen our progress and are worried we are getting somewhere so they toss down an obstacle hoping it steers us off course.
The first obstacle is Vyadhi, sickness or injury. When you are ill or hurt is is hard to think of anything beyond that, let alone stay inspired. It requires that you rest and in turn you inevitability lose some momentum. It requires verve to return to your previous capacity and output. If you are injured, do your work to get strong and get back on your feet again. The world needs your art.