Breaking Down Barriers

January 8, 2022

In my yoga class this morning, the instructor set an intention around barriers, both physical and mental. Throughout class as he created a flow leading up to peak poses, he also mentioned modifications and listening to your body if it was ready to be challenged or needed to back off a bit. As I was flowing and thinking, I realized that breaking down barriers is an apt metaphor for life right now.

Often, our minds are our own barrier. Physically, we often tell ourselves, "My can't do that" or "I'm just not flexible". Yes, I do marvel at my daughter in a squat position playing or reading and sometimes I think I wish I could do that. But while there are physical limits to what our body can do, that doesn't mean we can't try something new. When holding a challenging pose for a few breaths, it is so easy to give up when you get tired. But continuing to hold and focus on your breath can create success; when it's time to move to a new pose, there's a feeling of power afterwards. Using breath as a guide (ex: Inhale I can, Exhale I will) can push you to keep going.

On the other hand, it's also important to listen to our bodies. Maybe you're feeling extra tired or battling an injury. As much as you want to go "full out", it is not worth it to potentially injure yourself more. This is a barrier I'm currently dealing with in regards to my wrist injury. I do not like wearing a brace, yet know the consequences of not wearing it are worse. I want to continue my yoga practice, so choosing to do forearm plank or chaturangas on my knees are good modifications to take pressure off my wrists. Injuries are an unfortunate barrier, but knowing how to navigate them prevents worse conditions in the future.

There are also mental barriers. Often, we may experience "imposter syndrome", the feeling that someone else can do something better or you don't fit in. It can be scary and overwhelming trying something new-whether it be a hobby/passion project, job, or meeting a group of people. Again, our mind can be one of our biggest barriers. Taking baby steps, making a plan, and celebrating small wins, can help us gain self-confidence and keep moving forward. This is something I'm reminding myself daily. Running a business right now is challenging for many reasons. This is not the reality many of us envisioned, nor expected to last for so long. It is mentally exhausting constantly changing plans, watching the news, and thinking how to keep everyone safe. While current reality is a major barrier, it is also important to take a step back and remember the big picture and ultimate goal of health and safety as well as positives that surround us every day.

Next time you're at a crossroads, whether it be physically or mentally, take a moment to take a deep breath: Inhale I can and Exhale I will.