Last Saturday was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and the official beginning of summer. Although changes in season are natural, and we have been experiencing them our whole life, they do not prepare us to face other forms of change.
We all encounter change, both good and rotten. Some changes are big like the birth of a child or becoming an empty nester, a new job or retirement, marriage or divorce, and the move to a new home. Other changes are small like the need to place our mat in another location in the practice room because the spot we like is taken. Change is a part of the natural flow and rhythm of life. However, the tough question is, how do we deal with change?
When practicing yoga, there are always poses you enjoy and poses you find distasteful. It is easy and even fun to transition into a pose you like. We all embrace good changes. Yet, it is difficult to move into a pose you find challenging and even harder to hold it. When I am teaching, and I sense that my students are really struggling to hold a pose, I remind them that this is just a temporary moment in their life and that all they need to do right now is to calmly breathe into what they are feeling. The point is to accept that this is a challenging pose, trust that what you are feeling is not permanent, continue to practice mindfully, and just breathe.
This is a lesson I learned from my own yoga teachers, and it is a prescription for confronting change both on and off the mat. Remember that the uncomfortable and thorny feelings you have about some changes are only temporary. Stay present and face your feelings mindfully, and always remember to breathe. If you practice this technique, you will move gracefully through any new situation that life throws at you.