Lynn Shields shares with us her yoga journey of the last 2 years taking us through frustrating and “lacklustre” lows to life-changing!
In April 2014 I took some very tentative steps into my first ever yoga class. I had no idea what to expect but I put my trust in Sarah that she wouldn’t break me. I had no idea what to expect from my first Strong Flow class but after one session I was hooked. It wasn’t until early 2015 that my practice started to take a whole new focus.
People often talk about yoga “changing their lives” or “becoming a better me”. These are things that sort of ‘weirded’ me out about yoga. It’s exercise, not some huge life-altering experience! That was until I started to notice a difference once I started spending more and more time on my mat.
The big change for me was when Sarah started to focus the classes on non-attachment. This really grabbed my attention as I do tend to concentrate on end goals and push myself too hard. When I first started yoga, I was focused on achieving certain poses and pushing myself towards them.
I would leave my mat feeling disappointed if I wasn’t as strong or as deep in a pose as I had been the week before. After all I had heard about yoga, disappointment was not something I was expecting to feel so I figured something must be wrong. That’s when I started making the conscious effort to stop comparing myself to a previous version of me or to others in class around me.
It took me a while to wrap my head around the concept of non-attachment and I think the ‘eureka’ moment was whilst on retreat with Sarah in Turkey. I quickly learned that practicing twice daily would take its toll on my body and that every session would have different outcomes. From feeling flexible and energised to sore and lack-lustre, my practice changed constantly.
This is when I realised that pushing into the same deep positions as the night before would only have led to injury. Making the conscious choice to say “its okay that today my practice is different” stopped the pressure of comparison and in the end helped my practice deepen. The change in mentality deeply improved my yoga as I started to get enjoyment noticing small changes in poses rather than focusing all my energy on big glaring goals.
Once I started to think about non-attachment on my mat, it started to impact my life off my mat. I started trying to make an effort to not get too involved in situations; to remind myself of the bigger picture and take a step back. It’s not an easy cycle to break in life or in my yoga practice.
I still catch myself slipping and feeling the frustration of things not going my way. The worst part is when I find myself getting frustrated about the fact I am frustrated. That’s when I realise I need to be non-attached to non-attachment! But I guess that’s what the lesson is and about respecting the fact I am trying. The only problem is that I am now one of those ‘weirdos’ who catches them self saying “Yoga changed my life”.