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Writer's Answer

Have you ever rejected something outright because youthoughtyou didn't like it? Perhaps you believed that you didn't like a certain food only to realize after trying it again that you actually do like it. It's easy to get stuck in our heads to the point that we talk ourselves out of things.

Take yoga, for example. I know plenty of folks that don't try yoga because theythinkit's only for flexible people or for the New Agey set. Or perhaps you're a fan of heart-pumping aerobics, so you think that the only style of yoga that will appeal to you is a vigorous vinyasa flow. The point is, it's quite possible that your mind is dictating your yoga practice (or lack thereof).

I worked with a client once that came to me with a particular physical ailment from which she was looking for relief. I created a practice for her and we worked together for  an entire session, practicing a style of yoga that was a bit different than what she was used to. Regardless, she said that she enjoyed the change and noticed that she felt much calmer by the end of our session. A few weeks pass and she returns for another session. I asked her if she was doing the practice and she admitted that she had only practiced a few times (yet she continued with her usual practice, which was a rigorous flow style of yoga). When I asked her why she replied that why the practice made her feel good, it wasn't what she expected. She thought that she needed a more rigorous practice. I made a deal with her -- I told her I'd give her something more rigorous if she'd keep an open mind about the practice I had given her for one week.

After a week passed, the very same client returned with a look of surprise on her face. She admitted that even though she kept thinking that the practice was "too easy," her body felt great doing it. She ignored her thoughts and kept up with the practice for the agreed-upon 7 days. The result -- her ailment had improved a bit and she was starting to enjoy this new practice. When she didn't talk herself out of doing this particular practice, she felt good.

I've experienced this in my practice -- and in life -- myself. I notice that when my thoughts dictate my direction, I miss out on living in the moment -- and from a lot of potentially wonderful experiences. If I had let my mind dictate my yoga practice, I wouldn't have been practicing the style that I am today -- and that would be a big shame.

If you're letting your thoughts run the show, there's a cool resource that I recently stumbled upon that can help. It's calledThe Great American Think Out(I just love that name!). I signed up and I'm looking forward to 30 days of more conversations about presence. Getting out of one's head takes practice!

If you find that you're thinking your way out of your practice, try noticing what you're thinking and then doing the opposite (this is just for the sake of experimentation, not advice for life). If you think that restorative yoga isn't for you, try it. If you think that a quicker paced style of yoga isn't for you, give it a shot. Pay attention to what's going on in your head and get real curious about it. Then ask yourself if what you're thinking is really true. Is what you're thinking preventing you from doing/achieving/being something that you long for?

You never know what might happen if you take your yoga practice out of your head...the possibilities sure are exciting.


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