Our lives are a perpetual motion of opposites, coming together, one by one, or sometimes in pairs. It can overwhelm you, stress you out or excite you. Because as much fear as there is, love also exists in equal measure. As much rage and anger that comes forth from you, there is kindness and giving. And so it goes, you have a choice, to live in abundance, to prove that you can handle the waves, the crashing down effects of life because the sun will shine again.
Where your eyes are set, that is where you shall go.
This principle is applied and taught all over the world. Somehow when we roll out our yoga mat this principle is lost. And for good reason. At times it is so necessary to shut down and to let your body do absolutely nothing. The stage of practice I want to focus on is intention; setting our eyes, our bodies, our breath on where we want them to go. And this applies to everyone, no matter where you are, even those who have never done yoga, it is good to know where we can go, what can happen after the mind and body have done the work. There are a lot of people out there that see these advanced practitioners on the mat and they envy them, they see where they want to be one day. And that is so beautiful, to see anyone who has committed to a craft, an art form and persevered is truly a sight to behold. But never forget all the little steps along the way. The moments when we want to give up, the moment we do give up and the moment when we breakthrough what we thought was impossible. Those steps are all necessary.
There comes a time in our practice where we can tune out the world and open our eyes at the same time. We can set our sights on what we want our bodies to do and where they should be in space and it is exactly so. Eventually we get to a point in our practice, this applies to all aspects of fitness and life in general, where no matter what comes our way, we can handle it. I don’t think there is a time or an age where it happens, it is just a shift. Our practice is a reflection of who we are, is it a blank canvas each time it unrolls, open your eyes to the beauty that can be created on the mat. Understand the complete ebb and flow of your practice and trust your body, completely, wholly and without judgement.
I was recently asked in an interview what my mantra for life was. I sat with it for a second and then I just said, “come as it may.” I think I surprised myself with those words but it is true. I set goals for myself all the time, when I get injured or I wake up super tired and my body tells me it is not cooperating today, I give it a little room, I do what I can and I still push myself. Day in, day out. I stay committed to what I believe can be achieved. Start small, grow slowly over time and see what can be accomplished. I tell you, it is more than you can imagine. Never! Never, never, never say that you can’t do something. Take the proper steps, understand that it is a process and achieve everything that you want in this life. Your failures come when you give up, when you let your goal become too big and forget all the little steps, the little goals that happen along the way to success.
Nothing gets in the way of a stubborn mind, the yogi develops a practice that flows out of them with no effort, no strain, and then, the breath becomes the pose.
Katherine Ryan is a Los Angeles based yoga and barre instructor that also writes about connecting the yoga world with everyday issues. Katherine was led to the mat after a motorcycle accident left her body chronically aching. She found that by dedicating time to practice and detaching from the real world she was in turn connecting deeper to the world and people around her. Her mentor and friend, Lady Yoga challenged her to write, to share this passion with all that would listen. Never holding anything back, Katherine writes from a place of authentic honesty and integrity. She feels called to bring people to the mat through their life experiences, to channel what is going on, good or bad into their practice.