I want to share a funny story, which I think it can be applied to just about any life situation ever. I called this post ‘How I Learned to Let Go of Resistance’. However, I could have easily named it:
Your worth is not measured by the flexibility of your hamstrings, Tali!
See, I’ve been complaining about my tight hamstrings for over a year now. I tried a few different approaches.
I spent a few months having a very hamstring-focused asana practice. Every single day would feature parsvottanasana, ardha hanumanasana, janu sirsasana, uttanasana … basically every forward fold ever. And then I’d complain about how damn stubborn my hammies were because they still felt crazy tight!
So I got some therapy balls and started rolling them out, which helped initially but then I hit a plateau.
So I settled for dreading every forward fold in any group class or workshop I attended. I had so much inner resistance that I would hold any forward fold at home for maybe all of a breath (2 on a brave day) because of how tight I perceived my hamstrings were.Totally helpful, right? I don’t think avoidance is the key to overcoming any obstacle. At the same time, I don’t think obsession or over-attachment is either.
Let Go of Resistance
The highlight in my hammie journey happened recently. I’ve been regularly musing over and talking in class about something I read by Baron Baptiste – going along the lines of “if you leave the resistance alone, it will leave you alone”.
I acknowledged I felt sensation/tension in the backs of my legs in any forward fold. Crucially, I also acknowledged that sensation wasn’t a bad thing. It wasn’t something to be feared/avoided/obsessed over. So I left it alone.
In a fold I breathed, noticed the sensation without overly attaching to it. I noticed what was going on everywhere else – the back of my rib cage expanding as I inhaled, the slight bit of tension I was holding on to in my jaw. Just like that, my chin was back on my shins. And all was right with the world!
Seriously, I know the fact that I was holding on to resistance in one muscle group isn’t going to solve world hunger. But I do know that overly avoiding or attaching to one particular problem will not fix the problem. I also know that holding on to negativity in any situation will just keep that situation negative. Leave the resistance alone and it will leave you alone.
Let me know if you have experienced similar levels of resistance in your life too, either in the comments or via email. I would love to hear from you!