It’s not surprising that same mentality shows up on the yoga mat. Even when a pose is too challenging, or even painful, we can be hesitant to pull back. Using a modification feels like failure and goodness forbid we reach for a block or a strap. We’d rather wobble unsteadily, avoid the pose altogether, or mentally curse the yoga teacher who called the pose highlighting our weakness.
I’ll admit I’m speaking from personal experience. When I first tried yoga, I was determined to make it through every pose in every class — even if I felt light-headed or my muscles cried uncle. When the teacher called poses like double pigeon, which still taxes my inflexible hips, I thought mean thoughts. Everyone could see my lack of flexibility (as if they cared) and I didn’t like that. If the teacher ever brought me a block to help me into a pose, I felt a raw mixture of humility and shame. It seems silly to feel that way because of a yoga class, but I find that the feelings that show up on the mat have been festering off the mat for a while. Sure enough, for years, I was terrified of admitting I didn’t have it all together and that sometimes, I needed help.
With a bit more wisdom, I’ve come to accept help a little more graciously. If someone offers to bring over dinner or watch the kids, I don’t force a smile and insist that I’m okay. Or when someone at work asks whether I need help, I try not to say “no” automatically. Instead, I do a quick inventory and do my best to answer honestly.
In this week’s posts, I’ll focus on tools and poses that rely on a little help to enjoy a pose. Hopefully, these posts will serve as a reminder that accepting help can be a blessed thing.