Change is alternately scary and at the same time inevitable. Yoga can help us ride the ebb and flow of change, while at the same time invite changes from within. We will find that when we start a consistent yoga practice that it can accelerate change by revealing to us the deep truths that are lurking below the surface. At the same time yoga gives us the tools to weather the change that is self-initiated by our discovery of the inner revelations.
Sometimes it seems like there are people who can accept change better than others. What is their secret? Perhaps it’s the acceptance that change is inevitable. If we look at the Buddhist idea of impermanence, this tells us that change is unavoidable. The recognition that everything is impermanent can empower us to not spiral downwards into the victim mentality of “why me” when unexpected change presents itself in our lives. The ability to stay in the present and honor change and accept the lessons it has to teach us.
Change can be self-initiated or the causation of life events. Studies show that even positive change that we are looking forward to, such as getting job promotions or getting married, can be just as stressful as the negative ones, such as being evicted or losing a job. How we stay in the present and are aware of where we are and what is happening right here and now synthesizes everything we learn in yoga class for both positive and negative change.
Mindfulness, pranayama(breath), and asana all navigate us toward accepting change. We then open up consciously to what is, we can surrender to, and invite transformation. That does not mean that we need to accept all changes that can be detrimental to our being. Getting in touch with our hearts and core through yoga will help us know when action is required when outside forces are asking for change that are not necessarily right for us.
Through yoga practice, accepting impermanence in our life, facing our fears, breath, and mindfulness we can ride the waves of fear and confusion that change brings, with grace. There is a point where we’ll actually look forward to change, because of the lessons it has to teach us, where the fear of change will be transformed into the freedom of letting go. Next time you have a major change that presents itself, welcome it with open arms knowing that your yoga practice will help you through.