A couple of weeks ago I was participating in a yoga course about stress and burn out. Having a history with being burned out I had been looking forward to this course. I don´t consider myself being burned out any more, but I was curious about the approach the yoga teacher had in her program.
What came to my mind in this course was the challenges and resistance we have for yoga and some yoga poses. If you have tried yoga you probably know what I´m talking about. I also have resistance even though I have done my daily yoga practice for years and also have been a yoga teacher for years. Some people may think being a teacher, that kind of challenges are gone, but at least for me I´m still learning and discovering things about myself all the time. Thank god for that, life would be very boring otherwise.
Anyway, in this course the Camel pose (as in the picture above) was included in the program and I realized I´ve been avoiding that pose for many years! Eh, 9 years to be exact.. It is a great pose that opens up in your chest,hips, pelvis & thighs. A great pose to do if you are somewhat closed in that area as many burned out people are.
The funny thing is that I also realized that my mind had convinced me there were other similar yoga poses that were less challenging. These thoughts were automatic, nothing I was really pondering about. Yep, my mind was manipulating me into a state of comfort. I tell my yoga students that challenging poses can be that pose you really need to do. Have to start to listen to myself I guess! ☺
(Ok, just need to mention, that I don´t mean that you should do a pose that is painful, that´s not what I´m talking about. My approach is and will always be that if a yoga pose is painful, gives you pain, you modify it. Just to straighten that out.)
When I think about this I also think about real life. Do we do the same in our lives, when it comes to challenges? Trying to avoid things that are uncomfortable, staying in the comfort zone? Missing out magic in life? Or maybe we even miss out important solutions in life, walking through life in the comfort zone?
I remember about seven years ago when I went to my yoga teacher for a yoga-therapy session. He gave me a very short but challenging yoga program with a pose that´s called Sat Kriya (see picture below). This pose I was supposed to do for 11 minutes, starting from 3 minutes and slowly building it up until I reached to 11 minutes for 40 days. Of course as a burned out person I took the challenge being a dedicated student ☺ . I remember I was so angry doing this pose, it felt impossible to reach 11 minutes without taking down the arms. My shoulders resisted, my mind resisted, but eventually I got to 11 minutes without taking down my arms, and also feeling just fine in that pose. I did it! And the result was: I felt great and in total balance. Steady as a mountain. Nothing could affect me in a negative way, not people around me, nothing. I was in total bliss. That´s what yoga can give you, if you are not afraid of trying. Accepting the resistance and let it flow through you instead of letting it knock you over.
As the yoga teacher (Elisabeth Engqvist) said when I wrote her some feedback about the course in Stress and Burn out: “The consolation in doing challenging yoga poses is that when you´ve done them it´s done, and eventually that pose is just another yoga pose as any other yoga pose."
So, yes I´m doing the camel pose now in my daily program that I´m going to do for 40 days. And eventually this pose is just another yoga pose as any.
What are your challenges? Please share in the comments below!
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Helen Kåselöv is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist and the founder of Healing from within with yoga & food (former Yoga for Endometriosis & Pelvic pain). Helen has a history of severe endometriosis and is today helping women with endometriosis, PCOS, uterine fibroids and other pelvic pain online, with yoga, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Using yoga both as a tool in different kinds of healing programs, pain management, yoga has become the foundation in her work. “Yoga can help you in so many ways: Physically, mentally, spiritually and as a personal development tool.”