The Scarlett O’Hara Syndrome

May 10, 2011

“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
Yep. The problem is tomorrow never comes. When I think of just my Yoga practice, there are several things that I like to put off until tomorrow. Things that are difficult, challenging, or just down right uncomfortable.

The things that I really dislike doing especially involve deep core muscles. Not the six-pack abs type things. Those can be a bummer, but those muscles are also superficial (not the little significance type, but the medical term for closer to the skin). The ones that really challenge me are deep inside, the base of the pelvic floor and the low back. When I do low back strengtheners I actually get angry, every time. They are hard. I don’t like them. When I do pelvic floor exercises I don’t have such a strong emotional reaction, I just don’t like it, they leave me kind of meh.

A big challenge for me is that I do my practice at home on my own. It is much easier to move into and practice the yucky stuff under the guidance of a teacher who is “making you” do the thing, whatever it is for you. It is a whole different feeling tone when you have to “make yourself” do the thing. (Note: no one can make you do anything, an instructor merely suggests and you choose to follow the suggestion or not.)

Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t do the things that make me uncomfortable. I notice a difference when I’m not doing them, my back aches and sometimes the bones grind, my inversions suffer from the lack of deep core strength. I try to use these facts to motivate me to stay on top of my own practice. I feel a whole lot better and stronger when I stay committed to do the things that I think are “yucky”.

Here’s an interesting fact about Yoga, the moves, asanas, or situations that annoy you the most, the ones you avoid by having to go to the bathroom or drink water or adjust your clothing? Those are the exact things you need to do more of. Yoga is really great at exposing our weaknesses, our discomforts, at shining the light into our darkness. When we can bravely move into the discomfort, hang out in the challenge and feel our emotions without reacting to them, that is the exact moment we grow. We grow stronger physically and emotionally. When we survive the scary thing we’ve been avoiding, our self-confidence soars and we give ourselves the power to overcome the next scary thing.

I’m not saying it is easy or comfortable, because it’s not. Sometimes it just downright sucks. However, the results are so very valuable to our experience of life. And as our physical practice is a reflection of our life off the mat, we can then learn how to look at areas in our life we’ve been avoiding and waiting until tomorrow to deal with and start to think about and bring change into those areas as well.

We all have our own Scarlett O’Hara Syndromes – things we’d rather avoid and think about tomorrow- such as not completing the entire ab workout, choosing your own music, dancing to the end of your song, playing with clothing layers, saying “I can’t” to every new move being introduced. What areas of your own practice do you avoid, cheat at, or skip all together? Have there been times when you moved into those areas and been grateful for it? Share with us your own stories and inspire each other to think about it today!

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