I used to see pictures of people on Instagram and Facebook, doing weird, difficult yoga poses like headstands, handstands- crazy twisting of the body or dramatic body bending and think to myself, “Oh these people really like to show off!”
It didn’t seem like real yoga. It was just a type of Gymnastics. I wondered how these people could enjoy it so much. Searching for the answer brought me to discover a new yoga practice, and more importantly a core lesson that changed everything in my business and my personal life.
I was doing Vinyasa flow yoga for 10 years when I signed up for my first traditional Ashtanga class only because I wanted to work with the instructor, Tim Feldmann, because I loved following his wife, Kino MacGregor, on social media. I was fascinated by her yoga on the beach, especially those handstands. So when Tim Feldmann came to Bangkok, I had to sign up for his workshop, which just so happened to be Ashtanga yoga, this challenging crazy twisted kind of yoga I had been wondering about all these years! Like me, Tim was a dancer, so I knew that I wanted to learn from him. Right away in that workshop, I was like, WOW how do I do this?
Because I had just kind of naively appeared in his advanced ashtanga workshop, Tim, surprised, finally asked me, “So you’ve never done this before??”
That moment was when I decided to simply learn this new practice regardless of how challenging it was or how long it would take me to master it. I simply committed to doing it, because I truly wanted to be able to do each pose Tim demonstrated…and it changed my yoga practice forever.
It turned out that the really hard thing to get over was my thinking. Even more than training my body, it was a new mindset that I needed to cultivate. Sure-watching people put their legs behind their heads made me nervous. I figured that it would take me 10, maybe 15 years of practice to move my hip and spine like that. But it didn’t matter. I made a decision to do the hard thing anyway.
I said to myself, Well, if it takes me 10 years, it will take 10 years. I’m still doing it and starting right now.”
And it ended up taking only two years.
From then on, I created a discipline for my daily routine and didn’t let any fear and disbelief (will my body ever be able to move like that??) stop me from showing up.
And this turned out to be the one thing that changed my practice…and my life forever.
“Doing the hard thing”.
The benefit of being disciplined led me to a solid habit of getting things done. This simple thing has been a game-changer for my business. When I needed a website, I set a strict deadline and met it. Done.
Do the hard thing first.
I thought, if it takes me 10 years to get my business to the amazing level that I envision, then it takes 10 years. That’s fine.
But in the end, it didn’t.
My website, social media marketing, networking, sales… it all took me just one year. I was able to get so much more done because of this yoga practice. Ashtanga yoga taught me that when I meet the challenge, I make it to the next level. In life, it’s the same thing.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
When your yoga practice- or any experience in your life- challenges you to move beyond your comfort zone, it is pushing you to new personal limits.
You discover that you can do it only by actually doing it. That means that you have to go through the challenging process. In yoga, when you set your mind to doing it, your body will listen. This will take you to a new experience, lead you on a new journey with yourself. When you believe that you can do it (even if you don’t know how) you take action. By taking action you find the way. You will see the result.
Doing the hard thing forces you to face your deepest inner blocks. By pushing through resistance, you effectively destroy the same blocks that used to define you. Challenging yourself to lean in and just do it changes your yoga practice–and your life—- forever.
Nim Stant is a lifelong yoga practitioner. She is known as an international yoga teacher, retreat leader, creator of Business of Retreats Accelerator Program.
She’s a mentor for yoga teachers, coaches, entrepreneurs, training them to build and grow profitable retreat businesses.
She offers online workshops, masterminds, retreats, and 1-on-1 coaching. She adds “The Nim Effect”- an inspirational, energetic boost – to everyone she encounters.
Most importantly, Nim sees herself as a student, who is always listening and learning from the whispering of the Master (God of the universe).