Smile. Release. Surrender: Words I heard during a yin yoga class I recently attended. The process of this type of yoga is to hold poses for a minimum of 45 seconds to about 3 minutes. Sometimes it feels like we’re holding poses for an excruciating 10 minutes. If you were to observe the class, you would think, “That looks so easy. What’s the big deal? Everyone is just lying on their mats, comfortably slumped over their bodies and snoozing.”

Yes, these poses look easy. But, holding these poses for several minutes is not as easy it looks. We are guided to hold the poses especially when it feels uncomfortable. The yoga instructor guides us to breeeaaathe through the pain and to push ourselves just a little bit further and to try to challenge ourselves to “find our edge.”

Pushing and challenging yourself

As I was doing what I was being told (“Breathe, push, challenge”), I instinctively compared this yoga practice to how I live my life: I am constantly pushing myself to go deeper and to challenge myself to be the best me and to embrace my true self. In doing so, I am reminded that:

  • I am courageous
  • I am strong
  • I am resilient

It is possible that when people look at what I am doing and what I have accomplished that I am making it look easy. Only I know every detail of every challenge I’ve faced.

The yoga instructor guides us to breathe through and into the pain of the poses. At times I feel like letting out an audible “Oooouuuchhh” even while everyone else seems to be enjoying the façade of a “peaceful and relaxing” environment lined with soft lights and embraced in soft, spiritual, centering music.

Comparing yourself to others

On the outside, when I see others struggling and pushing through their challenges, I make the assumption that they have it easy. I sometimes compare myself to others then I remember an adage I heard years ago: “Don’t compare your insides with someone else’s insides.”

I have lived my life facing challenges. I won’t say I embraced every challenge with open, loving arms. But, I can honestly say that I did not cower from challenges. Oh, yes, I may have cried or winced during the painful times. I always manage to find the funny and humour in stressful moments and to laugh during challenging times.

I have pushed through challenges and made myself stronger and wiser. I embrace pain knowing that it will be over soon and by pushing through I become stronger. I will continue to go deeper, to challenge, myself, and to push myself to my edge and become even stronger and wiser.

About the author: To find out more about Julie Ostrow, please click here.


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