Many of us dream of theeasy life: a life in which opportunities arise without complications and we move effortlessly through our day in a happy state of bliss. In search for this idyllic state of living, we dread obstacles and disdain struggle and conflict. Yet, we need the resistance of opposing ideas, the clash of contrasting expectation, and the work of climbing the metaphorical career ladder, in order to for us to grow.
Resistance is around us all the time. In yoga class, we always have at least one body part touching the earth. This floor-bound body part not only secures us to the land but also creates a force in which we can utilize to expand. We push against the floor, to find more lift. In physics force is possible when one object interacts with another. There are different types of forces in physics but a uniform concept states how much force is applied by one object is met with the same amount of force. For example, in handstand if we don’t press away from the earth, we sink. When we push against the floor we activate our muscles and find the bodily support and length needed to align in the posture.
Resistance is often considered to impede our flow and thwart our growth. Yet, just as there are at least two opposing actions occurring at all times, resistance can foster and hinder our personal expansion. In the yoga world, there is always a discussion about awareness, to mindfully look at your present circumstances. Many of fight change and we fight against obstacles. We see these obstacles as a place of struggle rather than a stepping stone for growth. In class, we are reminded to be attentive to our mental, emotional, and physical state without judgment. This is because in yoga we come to realize that the most of the resistance we meet is from our own struggle against change. As we grow, we bump up against our own issues, rejections, fears and insecurities and we retreat, hide, and try to shove the feelings back into the bag we carry them in.
When we cave-in to our self-doubts, we are walking our path like someone blindly moving through a dark forest hoping not to drop into a ditch. Instead of recoiling we must address these feelings of inadequacy head-on. When we realize that our fear holds power and strength, we can use that force to help us grow. To utilize resistance for your own optimal development, you must become aware of what you are bumping up against. With proper awareness and self-realization, you are able to flourish seemingly effortlessly.
I spent my childhood summers in a small fishing village off the coast of Western Canada. I remember the times I would jump in the icy ocean and tread water attempting to get back on the dock. Without a rock to push off of, climbing out of the water was a struggle. Many of us live like this – trying to tread water, not realizing that each obstacle that comes to us is a place from which we push off. We cannot allow ourselves to become afraid of what we butt-up against, we cannot let that stop us, rather we must find a way to move through, around, or even better, step-up on the bumps in our path.