When I first started practicing yoga, there was an asana I really had a hard time with. Not that I couldn’t get into the pose— I just flat out dreaded doing it.
It was Warrior II. I hated it with an unbridled passion I simply couldn’t explain. And anyone who practices yoga knows — if you are doing any kind of standing sequence, Warrior II is always there.
So I did it. With gritted teeth. Every. Single. Time. Not exactly the goal of a relaxing yoga practice.
Expand this attitude of dread to other areas of your life — see what you turn up.
Are there people who make you want to turn around when you see them heading your way? The idea of interacting with them makes something inside you go ‘pop’. Either irritation, annoyance, anger, disgust, or out right fear. You would do just about anything to remove them from your life and avoid any future contact with them.
How about places? Are there certain places you avoid? For me it’s my home town. My parents are buried there, but you can’t get me back there on a bet. It’s as though there is some kind of vacuum over the place and I fear I’ll be sucked in and never allowed to come back to my Real Life. Or maybe the memory center of my childhood traumas just can’t take one more walk down down that particular yellow brick road. What ever it is — I’m sure I’m not alone. If you think about your life — you have a place, maybe more than one — you avoid for emotional reasons you just can’t quite explain.
How about situations? Public speaking, big parties, driving after dark, wearing a suit — everyone has a few of these too. Mine is amusement park rides. You will not find me on anything other than a carousel for the rest of my natural life. Take that Disney World!
These are our triggers. In real life they are people, places, situations — in our yoga practice they are asanas. Uncomfortable places that can tell us what is going on in our internal landscape and how we can grow.
Your teachers will tell you — LOOK closely at the poses you hate. They have the most to teach you. It’s not ever the advice you want to hear because no one wants to explore the uncomfortable shit. Trust me.
Eventually, in my practice, over eighteen years — I have uncovered my Inner Warrior. It was hard to birth her. My core had to strengthen and my legs had to learn to connect my body to the ground. My thighs and calves had to hold solid and my arms had to float open and offer my energy and my heart to The Universe. Today, She flows flawlessly with grace and a smile throughout my practice. No more gritted teeth.
Lately I have begun to work on the ‘people triggers’ in my world. They are every bit as challenging as Warrior II initially was. But I can recognize the sensation and I know the drill. Strengthen my core — ground myself — hold solid — offer my energy and my heart. See how this works? And you know what? It does work. I find myself less tense, less aprehensive, less stressed around even the people who push every single button I own.
I may even make it back to visit my hometown. However, don’t expect me to conquer a roller coaster any time soon. I need to save a few challenges for the next life.