“The biggest commitment you must keep is your commitment to yourself.”
Neale Donald Walsch
Do you have commitment issues? Are you half in and half out?
The term ‘commitment issues’ usually refers to a reluctance to get further involved in a romantic relationship – to move in together or get married – but a problem with commitment can go so much further than that.
At work, your reluctance to be fully involved with long-term projects may get you labelled as being negative or even get you disciplined for having a detrimental effect on the company’s bottom line.
Or on a more personal level, your fear of success may mean that you don’t commit to achieving your goals – perhaps you’re so focused on ‘what ifs’ that you just do nothing at all! What if I change my mind? What if something better turns up? What if something goes wrong? What if I don’t like it? What if… What if…
So what happens when you don’t fully commit?
Well, to be brutally honest, you’re probably missing out on the only one thing that really is, the present. Never quite committing is like listening but not hearing, it’s like not living now but living in the hope of something different, but who knows whether that’s ever likely to materialise. It’s sitting on the fence, it’s never achieving your goals or reaching your intention destination, it’s doing 50% and expecting 100%, it’s being disloyal to yourself.
“Sometimes people avoid the beginnings because they want to avoid the endings. This is particularly true if we have negative associations with happiness. If we have had the carpet pulled out from under us at moments of great vulnerability, we may prefer to avoid life altogether. But what is life without beginnings? Sure, it may lead to sorrow, but it also may lead to joy. We must begin again, time and time again, if we are going to live a real life.”
My son recently fell off a rope swing in the wood; thankfully not at the highest point. He kept asking me, “Why did I go back on again?” He wasn’t sure why he chose to go again that time. The first few times he was fully committed; he was there in union – body, mind and spirit. That last time when he fell, he felt it inside him; he wasn’t ready, he was half in and half out as he passed the swing one last time on our walk but decided to do it anyway… and then he fell. He wasn’t fully committed. (He is all good now, by the way.)
My practice is currently drawing me to the mat with a new vibrancy and desire. I can’t resist. I’m fully committed right now to exploring more and more authentic and free movement that helps me mine into the depths of myself – it’s so nice to feel like this again after a period of aversion.
There are cycles in everything, expansions and contractions all the time, everything changes. Times to be out in the world and times to connect back inside. Where are you right now?
But the thing that is coming through more and more for me in my own practice is that I’m becoming less and less concerned about shape and form and more focused on how the movement feels and how I can feel into the emotion of the movement and let it be felt and expressed fully, so it can move through me. And for that to happen we need to be committed to feeling it all. The only way out is through…
How committed are you to yourself and your practice?
What does this commitment mean for you? Is it just your weekly lesson or have you expanded your practice off the mat too?
Many people start practicing yoga for the asana but as time goes on they want to explore more, both on and off the mat. Asana is just one part of yoga and it’s a great misconception that yoga is practiced on a mat!
Yoga can be practiced anywhere.
Out in nature, in a traffic jam, at your desk, while doing the washing up, in the shower.
And while yoga is not a game, there’s no reason why it can’t be playful and fun.
The National Institute of Play (a US organisation, there’s not one here in the UK!) defines play as ‘an activity that’s done for its own sake’. Play is something you choose to do, it’s something you enjoy and there doesn’t have to be a reason to do it
When you’re playing, the act is much more important than the result but when you don’t expect a result, there usually is one. Perhaps your mood will improve or you’ll feel better in yourself. Maybe you’ll get your best creative ideas while you’re playing or you’ll boost your work productivity or your happiness levels.
“The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.”
So I want to ask you, “Are you ready to commit to yourself and your practice? Are you ready to commit to playfulness and joy?”
When you play in your yoga practice, you embark on a journey of creativity and self-discovery. You explore what your body can actually do rather than staying within the limits of what you know it can do. When you introduce playfulness into your practice you move away from structured asanas and open yourself up to new possibilities. The shapes you make may not look like the perfection that keeps popping up on your Instagram feed but you’re discovering new things about yourself, about your body. You’re no longer working through a sequence on autopilot, you’re mindfully moving, you’re adjusting, you’re listening to your body, you’re learning, you’re getting out of the rut you’re stuck in, you’re helping shift blocks.
“Watch it., listen to it… and even have fun. Play with it as children do.”
Vanda Scaravelli in ‘Awakening the Spine’ when she advises to “adopt a friendly approach” to your body
So, have I convinced you? Are your ready to commit to your practice, to playfulness? Are you ready to explore? Are you ready to break the ‘rules’, escape the security of the familiar?
Tree on the Tube anyone?
I’m Lara Heppell and I specialise in working with women one to one and enjoy being part of their journey of reconnection and self-discovery. I support women to find more balance and harmony in their lives by deepening their inner connection to their own body’s needs, helping them cope pre-conception, with fertility issues, prenatally, postnatally or during times of transition, grief or loss and helping alleviate the symptoms of menstruation, perimenopause or menopause.
If you’d like to explore any of the ideas in this blog post or feel you need further support with your wellness, please get in touch.