We Can Do Hard Things

Chair pose has always been the most mentally challenging one for me. (I pretty much despise it, yet . . . ) I’ve read that the poses that challenge you most are often the ones you need the most. Dang it. I feel that.

The Sanskrit word is Utkatasana and it means powerful pose. It builds endurance and stamina. It balances the body and brings determination to the mind. It opens energetic channels in the body, especially around the heart. Yep, I definitely need that.

As I begin to sink my hips back for chair, I instantly fight it. I tell myself I cannot do it. It is too hard. My instinct is to stand right back up and skip it.

When I first returned to my mat in my early grief, I could only practice slow flows. After some time, I started to take Leba’s power class. When it was time for chair or another difficult pose, and I only wanted to bail, I created an affirmation for myself.

I can do hard things.

I can do hard things.

I can do hard things.

I linked this phrase to my breath and I learned how to stay in the discomfort to gain the benefits.

First I practiced it on my mat, then I carried it with me off my mat. When a pummeling wave of grief would rise and swell, I would repeat to myself:

I can do hard things.

I can do hard things.

I can do hard things.

Then I linked my affirmation to my breath and I learned how to stay in the discomfort of the wave to feel it, honor its purpose and release it.

I bawled and continued to focus on my breath and my phrase as the wave knocked me down. I let it wash over me . . . and then I got back up again. Over and over and over. I still do.

This is one of the many beautiful lessons from my yoga practice. What you practice on your mat strengthens you, stays with you and stretches into the rest of your life.

Keep practicing. We can do hard things.

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