North of the 50th parallel, we make it through a lot of things. We dig in through long winters and days without light. We have learned how to wait for the first full moon in May to start planting, to wait for 5 minutes because the weather will change, and to wait outside at all hours for the northern lights. We live in an environment that doesn't always produce the most pleasant conditions and we patiently make them work for us. Instead of screaming at the sky, we take up skiing.
In yoga, I think we all get to a place where we are standing in the snow, wondering if we can take the rest of the season. Whether it's in the middle of a single pose, or we're losing the will to make it to class, we all have moments where we are out of emotional fuel, patience, and time. In the midst of a cold snap, we need something to hang onto.
The month of May carried a lot of beautiful things. For me, it was a time to honor my body with nutrients and healing activities. I gained so much insight into my habits and strengths through the cleanse and the time that I spent on my mat; however, with so much focus going into one area of my life, other things were left a little dusty. As this was my first cleanse, a learning curve was to be expected and now that I’m on the other side, I’m a little drained from the game of catch up I have been playing. So, in order to recover well and not lose the love of my practice, I am examining perseverance and asking: how do we turn to the sun when we’re trapped in the season?
1. We remind ourselves that seasons do not last. When we’re stuck in the quagmire, our ability to move forward comes from acknowledging that we can. There are always new arenas of self-discovery waiting to be unlocked within the practice and feeling stuck does not diminish this. Sometimes, the best we can do is to look forward to what’s next.
2. We remember that the results are worth it and that the simple step of setting an intention is healing. What drew you to yoga in the first place? Where have you strayed or added unnecessary expectations beyond purely connecting to yourself?
3. We simplify and get back to basics. Often, when we find ourselves worn down, we have disguised our ambitions as essentials. By taking the time to separate what is necessary from the excess, we can start rebuilding our foundation. Find the parts of the practice that are the most energizing and start there.
4. Acknowledge the circumstances you are in. What does this moment have to teach you? I have often discovered that the seemingly dormant seasons of life are where I have learned the most. Any moment that we learn from is never wasted; when we learn to find meaning in our struggles, we often discover that there is opportunity hiding in all the difficulty.
Personally, I believe that the ability to persevere through difficulty comes from our understanding that something else is coming. We know how seasons work; frost isn't forever, leaves will come again, and there is always the promise of festivals under a warm sky, runs in the park, and road trips to the Rockies. We wait because we remember the kiss of the sun. Sometimes, we just need to find that good Savasana and wait for the clouds to clear—because they always do.