On Friday I felt very frustrated.
During the early morning Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice I felt that my progress is going in extremely little steps, that I am not flexible…
And next to me I saw that everybody were flexible and strong.
Everyone was doing poses better than me, I was the only one using props (block and belt) for every pose.
In any forward bending, I was the highest one,
While everyone is touching the toes and the floor easily, I am like 30 cm away from them, just looking from up there.
«Who am I trying to tease? Even my little 11-years-old niece is more flexible than me, I will never reach to that level of flexibility, even if I was working on it for years.»
I felt very low.
I felt very discouraged.
On top of that, during Philosophy class the teacher told us that the first part to train (from all 8 limbs of yoga) is Asanas. If you want to master Prayanayama, Pratyahara, Dharana and the rest, first you need to master Asana. Because only when you master Asanas, your body is eligible to master Pranayama.
Which makes sense.
But it felt very discouraging for me.
Because my mastery of Asana is very far from mastery.
So, how to overcome this frustration?
These are 4 thinking processes that I came up with to come out from there.
1. What would you do if not this?
For years I have felt very lost.
I didn´t know what to do.
I felt bored and lonely.
And loneliness was a consequence of not know what to do, of boredom.
All this brought up personal problems, not just my own worries, but it also affected the relationships with my closest ones.
And they were working fine for some time, they all had their reason to be there in that moment.
But they all finished.
Last October I made a commitment: I would would train yoga in order to become a Yoga Teacher. Or at least, go much deeper into the practice, because I had practiced Yoga here and there for the last 8 years and it always felt good.
So, even with all this frustration,
What could I do if not Yoga?
For years I didn´t know what to do and I had tried many thing, and now, this commitment to Yoga is bringing:
- Clarity of mind, and is taking away most of those spirals of bad thoughts from my mind
- Great Health conditions, I am clearly in my best moment of the body in terms of weight, flexibility and strength I would say in my whole life or at least in the last 23 years, since I was 17.
- Lots of good energy, I feel light, I start the day in good mood
So, even with all frustration, staying on this path deserves continuity.
2. Find out why you are doing what you are doing
Talking to some partner in the school of yoga here in Mysore they told me that they were doing this for themselves and to share with others.
I didn´t feel completely related, but trying to find the original reason why you are doing something can be very helpful in low moments.
First thing that came to my mind is that:
- I am doing this for my daughter
I don´t want that she grows up with a father that is completely lost in life, in bad shape, with low energy and depressed. I want that she sees that it is possible to pursue your dreams, even if they are difficult to reach.
I don´t want to hide my low moments from her, but I also don´t want that she thinks that life is a burden and that there is nothing to dream of.
Since I am practicing yoga, I am more focused, I am enjoying my free time more, because the busy time is interesting and compelling. I want to stay in this way.
- I am doing this for my wife
She doesn´t deserve a lost husband, a lost soul wandering around not knowing what to do.
Before making that commitment in October I was that lost.
Now I am much better.
Even if I don´t know the end goal of all this, the path is feeling good to our relationship.
- I am doing this for others and for myself
I am selfish.
I want to have fun, keep practicing, stay healthy and share all this with others in our hostel.
3. The real cause of frustration
Frustration comes from not getting what you want when you want.
We want everything now.
We live in this fast world where satisfaction has to come immediately.
I remember the times when you could be staring at television for hours, even watching just ads, in order to watch a movie. It didn´t matter if the movie was better or worse.
Now we want to find the best movie in few seconds.
We get impatient if we can´t find it online in the first 10 minutes.
And everything is like that.
There was the time when you would make an appointment to meet some friend: a fixed time and a place. And you waited there as long as it was necessary.
Now, if the friend is not there by the time you arrive, you call or text him asking when he is coming.
We are not patient.
I am not patient.
Processes need time.
Becoming a master in yoga (and therefore a teacher) is not something that you can do in a few days.
But my mind tells me the opposite. I want it and I want it now.
The normal consequence?
So be patient.
4. Don´t compare to others
Apart from noticing that my progress was not fast enough, I could see that other people were far ahead of me.
From my point of view it didn´t matter if they have been practicing everyday for the last 10 years, or if their nature is more flexible… or if their minds are struggling while they are doing the perfect pose.
From my point of view they were just better than me,
And I am a failure.
Comparing to others doesn´t bring much.
You can use it to your advantage, to improve, to see what you will be able to do when you practice enough.
Don´t use comparison against you.
Because there will always be someone that does it better than you.
Be gentle with yourself, accept your own process and keep working on it.
5. What is the whole point of yoga?
All this frustration and discouragement are far away from the main goals of yoga, which are:
- Having a strong mind
- Having a peaceful mind
There are other further goals, but these two are main and come up from the beginning.
Enjoy the process, relax your mind and keep showing up.
Any process of learning implies the realization that you know very little about the topic.
The more you learn, the more you realize that you don´t know.
So frustration is common.
How to deal with it?
- Find out why you are doing it. Finding the real reason to what you are doing brings back all the meaning, all the sense, the end goal
- Realize that you are on the right path. You chose this path for some reasons. There were many options and you chose this one. If no better option arose and you just feel frustrated, keep going, keep showing up. Important is that you stay on the path.
- Be patient. Processes need time. Especially the meaningful ones. Easy things are not worthy. Important things are not easy. Give yourself the time to improve.
- Don´t compare to others, it doesn´t bring anything and you actually don´t know what their processes have been, what they are struggling with and what their plans are. Just focus on your practice.
- Stay calm. Keep practicing. Constant, daily practice will bring a strong and peaceful mind. Remember that.
Basically, as a summary, keep practicing.