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March 1, 2019

How to Let Go of an Ideal That Does Not Exist

Tired of Battling Yourself and Your “Imperfections”?

From the very day we are born, we are confronted with restrictions and rules. We are told to behave in a certain way and to adhere to society’s expectations. Little girls are dressed up like dolls and boys are told not to cry. Obviously, this example is a bit extreme, and of course I agree that certain boundaries are necessary for us to become social human beings.

However, as we grow older, certain pressures are starting to increase and may even weigh us down. We are told to be fit and healthy, have a successful career, a great love life and children.

That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

Thankfully, with the emergence of various movements like #bodypositivity etc., Western societies are starting to realise that people come in all shapes and sizes, that it is okay to start over, to change career paths and that there are so many ways and forms in which you can live your life.

Yoga = Flexibility?!

Ever since Yoga has become part of popular culture, it also seems that everywhere we look, we seem to be seeing young and slim yogis and yoginis that are able to bend their bodies whichever way they like. I have seen many people in my yoga courses despair, because they are not as flexible as they think they should be. What’s more, many people are discouraged from practicing yoga because they believe that they are not flexible enough. However, the good news is:

You Are Enough!

Yoga is exactly the opposite of being restrictive and demanding. This wonderful sport is supposed to liberate you from any existing boundaries in your mind. Also, there are no physical requirements to join! Moreover, the fundamental principles of yoga are self-love and acceptance. This means that nobody would ever expect you to reach a certain physical ideal. Yoga teachers like myself are here to teach you how to honour your body, strength and balance – just the way you are.

One thing that I realized when I started practicing yoga many years ago is that it also helps me to master difficult situations in day to day life. I gave up trying to push myself too hard, because in the end I would just feel tired and exhausted. Moreover, whenever we tend to concentrate on one specific goal, we often lose sight of aspects that really matter, such as our family and friends.

Overstretching Leads to Injuries

Another issue that many yogis seem to be struggling with is that in order to achieve greater flexibility, they often overstretch their muscles which then leads to injuries. As a consequence, many are forced to take a break for a while. Once they are feeling better, they typically throw themselves overenthusiastically into exercising again which may once again increase the risk of injuries. As you can see, it is a vicious circle.

3 Strategies That Will Help You Break Free

  • Instead of concentrating on practicing yoga poses that will stretch certain parts of your body, try to listen to your inner feeling. How does this pose make me feel? Is it liberating or I am just trying to endure this position for as long as I can?

 

  • Instead of working towards unachievable goals with dogged determination, try to set goals that are encouraging and reachable. The aim is to stay motivated and not to feel overwhelmed!

 

  • Pace yourself: Whether it is in your daily life or in yoga, try to approach each task at your own pace. For example, when you practice a certain asana, do no change immediately into the next one, but attempt to stay in it a little bit longer. You may feel that after a while tensions are released and that you can go a little bit deeper into the asana. The goal here is to concentrate on your well-being and not to stretch as far as you can.

 

What is your opinion? Do you have certain techniques that work for you and that you would like to share? How are you dealing with society’s expectations? I would love to have a discussion with you in the comments below, so feel free to speak your mind!

Written by: Natasa Brasik

Natasa Brasik is a Yoga teacher based in Austria with a focus on Therapeutic and Hatha Yoga. With a background in medicine, she offers individual (online) yoga classes, where she designs specific programs for her clients with a focus on pain relief as well as back and joint health. In addition, in the summer she organizes multiple Yoga and Sailing Retreats across Istria and the Mediterranean. For more information on individual sessions as well as her retreats, head over to Carpe Diem Yoga or check out her Facebook and Instagram.

Natasa Brasik

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