Practicing Patience


Wouldn’t it be nice if some things in life moved a little bit faster? Perhaps when you’re in line at the grocery store or in a long drawn out meeting you find yourself thinking “can we get on with this already?”

Well, that was me a few months ago except I wasn’t in a line-up or in a lengthy meeting, I was in the middle of an evening Yin class where the teacher had called for 8 minutes in pigeon pose. I have practiced Yin many times before, but in this specific class, however, I found myself literally and metaphorically out of my comfort zone.

My crass and unnecessary reaction to drawn out stillness caught me off guard. Usually, I am a calm, collected, and upbeat human. Where was this coming from?  Why was a deep stretch and some minor discomfort hitting a nerve and causing me to become impatient?

A passage from Baron Baptiste’s Perfectly Imperfect: The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice describes my experience perfectly. He says “if we aren’t satisfied with how our pose looks or feels, we tend to resist what is so. We become frustrated that we are not better, even resigned or cynical. When we move and breathe from a perspective of “this isn’t it….I’m not where I want to be … we experience emotional resistance that can feel energetically stuck and impossible to break through.” The feeling of stillness and the discomfort of the stretch brought feelings of “not good enough” and instead of just being where I was and sitting with what came up in that moment I was impatient with my progress, frustrated with the moment and wanted it to just be over.

I‘ve started to think about how else I can be impatient in my practice.  Now, I notice that impatience can look like not moving with my breath, not moving with intention, speeding through a flow series without focus, or trying to move into an inversion too quickly. It is anything that skips the moments of calmness where you cultivate focus that allows you to sit in the here and now.

Working on patience in my practice has helped me see that just because something doesn’t feel amazing or look perfect right now, doesn’t mean we should just give up. We may often feel like quitting because the path to where we want to be seemed long, challenging, uncomfortable, daunting, and even unattainable.

What I am continuously learning is that yoga is not an end goal of where I need to be but it is an ongoing chance to spend time being present, listening to the body and breath without expectations of what should be. It is having no attachment to the outcome of practice but trusting that the process itself is what will bring real progress. Staying right where you are even when you just want to get on with it and working through the discomfort and frustration teaches you to embrace the process that allows for growth and builds confidence through seeing your progression.

In life, true patience takes the form of sitting with something and trusting that in time it will change. It is accepting that there is always a process and therefore being okay with surrendering to universe’s plan instead of being frustrated by it. When I get impatient, I now try to see it as a signal that I may feel challenged, which brings up feelings of not being enough. Impatience is a signal that I want to run from an insecurity. Learning to sit and be okay with the discomforts in our lives is a way of honoring and accepting ourselves in that present moment. By allowing things to slow down, by moving with intention and with our breath instead of trying to go through the movements quickly, we are connecting with the essential foundation of yoga, which is to be content in the here and now and use it as a chance to take care of the places in our bodies/souls where the healing is needed.

 


Author: Kimberly Kostashuk

Kimberly is a writer, photographer, and communications professional. An all-around words aficionado, She loves good books, bad jokes and prefers her puns intended. When she’s not exploring new cities, you can find her wandering Canada’s breathtaking west coast with her camera in hand or on her mat practicing presence, peace, and patience. She craves story swapping, discussions with depth and food for thought—anything but small talk. You can connect with her at her website or  Twitter and Instagram.