A few weeks ago I hurt my back quite badly.
I had been going to yoga classes regularly throughout the winter.
Excited for spring, I dialed it up. One week I went to class four days in a row. That wouldn’t have been a problem by itself. It was my attitude that got me into trouble.
Here’s what I mean. Due to some unexpected life events and some of my own choices, I had slid into striving mode. This is a common lifestyle for many people but as a mindfulness practitioner, it is something I do my best to manage. One of the attitudes of mindfulness is non-striving.
Non-striving is about trying less and “being” more. It involves applied doing without the “must” or the “deadline” whenever possible. Mindfulness enables us to practice discernment. We learn when it is time to strive and perform and when to approach something with gentleness.
Not only was I expending too much energy forcing and jamming in life, but this also showed up on my yoga mat. I noticed that after a winter of dedicated yoga practice that my body was indeed becoming more flexible. It felt good and I wanted more. So I ignored my body’s messages and stretched beyond the point of benefit into injury.
Then came the self-judgment. After all, in my book, Mindful Exercise I write about how important it is to honor what’s happening in the body in the moment. And I didn’t do that. I should have known better.
My mindfulness practice has helped me remember what I thought I knew. I will press the reset button and get back to yoga class tomorrow with the intention of moving my body with an attitude of non-striving. And I will take this lesson into my daily living.
We don’t always have to be in the mode of trying or efforting to get somewhere. In fact, with regular practice of non-striving, goals become achieved by themselves.
• Where in your life do you notice yourself striving?
• Where in your life can you relax and try not to perform?
• What will you do this week to practice non-striving?
May you thrive as you walk the mindful path!