Do The Work

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Do The Work

Many people come to yoga because they want to see some change in their lives—maybe in their body, maybe in their mood, maybe in their connection to others.  Recognizing that you want a change and taking the time and effort to come into the yoga studio is huge, an accomplishment in itself.  But once you’re on your mat, you can’t just keep wishing for change.  You have to do the work.

So how do you do the work?  The first step, as with almost everything, is commitment.  And that requires believing that you can do the work and that you’re worth doing the work.  It means trusting yourself—your own abilities and your own value.  

The next step is showing up—physically and mentally.  Doing the work doesn’t mean performing every pose perfectly.  It means doing your best.  It means directing your energy towards staying present and meeting your edge in every pose—not just the ones you like—connecting with and directing your body, your breath, your gaze.  And bringing your mind back into focus, without judgment, every time it wanders away (and it will!).

What happens when you do the work?  Being present and committed to your practice frees you from the distractions and default thoughts and actions that usually take over.  The more you show up and do your best on your mat, the more you see what you are capable of, how amazing you are and how much you can grow.  You realize how much freedom you have to shape your body, your mind, your experience.  And doing the work on your mat helps you understand that you have the power to direct your energy to build the life you want to live.  

The first time you experience that sense of freedom is incredibly empowering.  But take that moment when you’re feeling your best and see it as a sign to keep working.  Of course you can and should feel like you’ve accomplished something—you have!  But to stay in that state of liberation and possibility, and to discover what more you’re capable of, requires continuing to be present, continuing to work.   

In this way, doing the work of yoga simply becomes doing the work of our lives.  Because contrary to what we often think, discipline doesn’t mean depriving ourselves of freedom, but allowing ourselves to truly experience it.