I just achieved my New Year’s Resolution – from 2017. My resolution was about flexibility: to be able to reach my arms over my head lying down and touch the floor. It took so long to reach my goal that I actually forgot that I had set it; I took so many yoga classes where I would lie down and touch the floor and I didn’t even notice that this was a special accomplishment at first! This made me reflect on how yoga has been supporting me to reach an even bigger goal: to become more patient.
What patience used to mean was being able to wait for something. It meant discipline to keep going and not give up even if something was taking a long time, e.g. standing in line, waiting for dinner, listening to someone complain without getting upset. However, my yoga practice and the self-development it inspires has changed how I define patience. Now, patience means feeling like there is enough time.
I struggle with feelings that there is not enough time for things I enjoy or that I won’t get enough time with the people and things I love. My practice of mindfulness has helped me to frame this as being stuck thinking about a future where I don’t have the things and people I value. This keeps me from being present to actually enjoy those people and things. My remedy is to find a way to have faith that there is enough time and get myself back to the present.
The most difficult way for me to put this into practice is to bring my attention to my breath. I breathe automatically every minute of every day, so putting special care into thinking about nothing but my breath is like a leap of faith for me. If there’s not enough time, then thinking about something I do without thinking would be a great way to waste the little time I have, but it also grounds me in the present moment. It takes a lot of bravery for me to sit in stillness with my breath and I try to acknowledge that. If I can be brave enough to do that, then I can be brave enough to face whatever the future holds for me, and I have faith that I have plenty of time to get there.
Questions for reflection:
How do you define patience?
Think about a time in your life when you were feeling impatient. What was going on? What were you thinking about? Were you thinking about the future, the past, or the present?
What helps you come back to the present moment?
This article was provided by Katie Pizziketti as part of a new monthly series, Attitude for Gratitude, in which Katie will explore using gratitude to cultivate a mindful and positive active lifestyle. Join Katie for practice on Sundays at 12:30pm.
Yoga is a treasured part of Katie’s fitness lifestyle. She uses it to build strength, flexibility, and body awareness which complement her interests in running, weight training, and interval exercise. Katie is using yoga to improve her range of motion and wellbeing in ways which were missing from her other exercise routines.
Katie developed an appreciation for accessibility – creating things that can be used by people of any ability level – after several years of working with adults living with serious mental illnesses and other limitations. Her belief is that almost anything can be achieved with the right attitude (and modifications). She loves helping people find their own doable pose that is just the right amount of difficult. Her high-energy classes focus on becoming stronger and stretchier with a smile!
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