I lived in California my entire adult life. It’s lovely there. The weather is temperate, people are friendly; it’s home. However, I recently moved away for the first time. As I sit in a new city, I’ve found it’s my yoga practice that is guiding me in this change.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned so far:
1. There’s a reason we need to find our foundation first: Just as with any standing pose, you can’t feel stable when your feet aren’t firmly planted. Start with the basics. What do you need to find stability through life’s changes? For me it’s the little things: stocking the fridge with healthy foods, finding a studio and teacher that makes me feel comfortable, getting outside with my dog to explore the city. Whatever those foundations are for you, don’t forget about them!
2. You’re going to lose your balance, and your way: A solid, open Half Moon pose can be freeing, but so can tumbling out of it. There are lessons to be learned from finding and losing your way. The set backs will happen, but in the meantime, try to be kind to yourself if life isn’t unfolding the way you planned. You can’t shoehorn your expectations into reality.
3. There will be uncomfortable moments: No matter how many times I sit in double pigeon, it’s still painful. But, instead of running away, I breathe into it. When you’re feeling uneasy, try not to hide behind your cell phone, computer, or sunglasses. Confronting and embracing the awkwardness helps diminish its power.
4. A monkey mind can ruin your flow: There’s nothing worse than getting all the way through a class just to realize you weren’t present for it. The same goes for change. It’s easy to find things to distract us: Facebook, alcohol, making plans for the sake of looking busy. But, there’s very little to be gained through distraction. What are some positive activities you can do to avoid running away? Meditation, journaling, a call to a good friend, some deep, rounded breaths? Most the time it doesn’t take much to get out of your mind and back into the present.
5. It’s okay to do it your own way: Your practice will never look exactly like your neighbors and neither will your path through change. Whether you’re finding your way through a new town, new job, new relationship status or new class, find the support that works best for you. It’s okay to come to child’s pose, take a nap, use the wall, cry a little.
There’s power in knowing you’re doing the best you can and leaving the rest to time, space and experience, regardless of what you’re finding your way through. But it's comforting to know there’s a teacher in yoga and that the lesson on the mat can be translated so easily off the mat.