It’s far too easy to resist change, even if we’ve asked for it.
When we’re unhappy we ask (plead!) for a way out, yet when change finally comes it brings along unexpected emotions. Suddenly, it’s light out past 5 p.m. and while you’re happy about it, it still takes you time to adjust.
Years and months of waiting for a break in our routine, more fuel for our passion, a kickstart for our aging bodies—how many conditions must pile up before we get the message that each moment toward change is as essential as the change itself?
Richard Rohr in Falling Upward says “…whatever reconnects our parts to the Whole is an experience of God.” For me, these experiences have included sprinting for cover during a downpour in the Smoky Mountains; weeping against cold shower tile in a windowless bathroom; and lifting into Bridge Pose during a 100-person yoga workshop in Estes Park, Colo.
And all these moments occurred after settling into big changes like jobs, new homes and relationships.They happened when I gave myself permission to start over (admittedly, not super difficult for this Sagittarius).
The experiences that make our parts part of the Whole have many disguises. That’s how I found myself and my two girlfriends sitting across from a Tarot card reader on Thursday night.
Don’t argue over toilet paper
All three times I’ve done Tarot have been in the past three years. Growing up, I was afraid and skeptical of psychics and mystics, but yoga has opened up a world where truth hides in the most unlikely places.
As well-worn cards flipped over on the table, I caught myself growing anxious, hoping that my current happiness and good fortune wouldn’t get an expiration date. (What is it that makes even positive people anticipate the worst?)
The cards largely foretold good things: a new happy home, financial success and the idea that all my efforts are driving toward something Greater Than Me. But there was one card—a heart with not one, not two, but three swords piercing it—that stood out.
This card, I was told, basically meant to not fight over which way the toilet paper roll unravels. File under: most unexpected advice ever from a Tarot card reader.
But she’s right. Little irritations like toilet paper preference (Note to Evan: It unrolls from the top, not the bottom) can destroy even the most rock-solid of relationships. Most of all, it can destroy the relationship you have with yourself.
Self doubt is one undercover irritant that prevents you from being flexible during change—or even just during a yoga pose. Changing zip codes or job titles or trying Chair Pose with Prayer Twist for the first time is one thing, but it’s much more difficult to flip a mental script that’s no longer serving.
5 permission-filled phrases for starting over
As we grow closer to the people we’re meant to be, maybe big “A-ha’s” don’t crash over us, but instead ebb and flow during the normal course of things. Catching the little irritants in our lives, whether caused by ourselves or triggered by the actions of others, can help us start over every day. That’s a whole lot better than waiting for big life changes, or being forced into them, without the means to cope.
Use these five phrases to make room for your brand new mentality, no matter what kind of change you’re currently going, or will go, through:
- Nothing ever stays the same, and that’s a good thing because that means I won’t stay the same, too.
- I am in control of how I feel about myself. Always.
- When I’m overwhelmed, I give myself permission to slow down, relax and make sleep a priority.
- I can let go. (Inhale “I can,” and exhale “let go.” Repeat five to 10 times with eyes closed.)
- You gotta download the Happy Momentum Mantra for this one! (Kudos if you’ve already got it.)
Try it: Chair Pose with Prayer Twist, Parivrtta Utkatasana
Build strength in your foundation while taking on a new point of view with twisted chair pose.
One of the strong points in my personal asana yoga practice is twists. My body loves and craves twisting so I do (and teach) them a lot. They’re amazing for rejuvenating our spines; as the ancient yogis said, the key to a healthy life is a healthy spine.
Tips/modification: Gluing both knees together and charging up your inner thighs will help you stay in the pose longer as you work to twist your torso to the side. If your elbow doesn’t hook outside the knee, place your hand there instead and extend your other arm behind you as you twist.
- Stand in Mountain Pose, Tadasana, with toes together and heels 2 inches apart. Press your palms together at your heart as you exhale and sink your hips low into Chair Pose. Squeeze your inner thighs and feel your sit bones spread as you rock weight into your heels.
- Inhale and lift the low belly, stretching tall through the crown of your head. Exhale and twist to your left, hooking your right elbow outside of your left knee. Ensure that both of your knees remain glued together, and bring them back into alignment if they move during your twist.
- Soften your shoulder blades down the back as you gently press your palms toward the center of your chest. Inhale and lift your torso slightly away from your left thigh, giving you room to exhale into a deeper twist.
- Relax the back of your neck and continue to stay strong in the thighs. Hold the pose for five to six deep breaths.
- To come out, exhale and release the twist, then stand into Mountain Pose before moving to the other side.
How does yoga help you cope with change?