Realize What You Can't Do, It’ll Make You Happier


Have you ever thought "I should do more yoga"? 

I can't tell you how many times, as a yoga teacher, I've been on the receiving end of that statement. 

Sure, you want to do more yoga.  Or, try it out for the first time. But, that word "should" can stop you in your tracks before you even get started.

Guilt is a terrible motivator! 

After a recent class, a student pulled me aside. With a full smile and sparkle in her eye she thanked me. For the first time, she realized she would never be able to do a certain pose.  

“I’ve been practicing yoga for years thinking I should be able to do this and I just learned my body was never meant to. I’m so relieved!” she exclaimed. I beamed back and celebrated with her. 

Learning what you can’t do, learning what you're not built for, learning your boundaries and limitations is equally as important as learning what you are capable of.

I feast on these “ah-ha” moments my students have. As a teacher, they indicate an engaged and honest learning environment. 

When I started Motive 4 years ago I was hell-bent on bringing a practical and honest approach to teaching. I wanted to help you appreciate your reality rather than superficially accept it or, even worse, secretly loathe it.

Yoga is often framed as something that will empower you beyond limitation. You then believe with enough commitment and conviction you should be able handstand or put your leg behind their head. In this context, you interpret your challenges as shortcomings...

What started as a personal conviction has now become a professional cornerstone for Motive. Every time I step into a teaching role I vow to facilitate a practice that helps you discover and fully own your limitations in lock step with your strengths. To really see YOU. Not you as you could be or you as you want to be, but you as you ARE.

I’ll be the first to admit this is a challenging place to teach from!

Rather than pre-determining or memorizing a sequence, and contorting students to IT we flip this equation so that our teaching is pertinent, insightful and appropriate for the people practicing it. From a teaching perspective it is more creative, informed and adaptive than it is pre-scripted and dogmatic. It’s a dialog between students and teachers and a process of discovery. Not a lecture and not choreography.

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The way yoga is taught nowadays gives the impression that there is one solution to everyone’s problems and one treatment for every illness… it is not that the person needs to accommodate him- or herself to yoga, but rather the yoga practice must be tailored to fit each person.
— TKV Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga

I’ve been known for being pragmatic.  Don’t get me wrong, I love romantic notions, lofty ideals and bold breakthroughs. But what I love more are quirks, nuance and relevance. And I’m a total fiend for fun. If you’ve ever been on one of Motive’s retreats you see all of this at play. We take our fun very seriously (climb, ski, surf, etc…) and we always return to the mat to check back in, to learn and to take care of the systems we throttle when we work, live and play.

If you’ve felt the weight of an ideal sit on you like an elephant here are a few things to consider:

  1. Ease up your expectations. When it comes to movement no two bodies are the same and that means that no one person can do every pose. Redirect your goals toward investigating what works for you and what doesn’t. Celebrate your strengths with humility and own your limitations without shame.

  2. Get rid of “should-y” influences? If you hear a voice saying you “should” be able to do something whether it’s your own or someone else’s, but it’s not backed by anything except social or emotional suggestion turn down the volume to that voice.  It’s only harming you.

  3. Opt for prescriptive vs. pre-scripted. Beware of anything template or pre-scripted when it comes to a practice. Steer clear of dogma and one-size fits all for yoga. You run the risk of ignoring your uniqueness and that’s your greatest asset! Find a studio, teachers, and community that invest in and nurture your differences. I had a mentor long ago that taught me that differences are our greatest gifts!

If what you’re after is a better life lived you gotta own you and pursue the practice that supports your joy, freedom and health! And by all means, do not conform— you’re way too rad for that!

We’d love to hear from you. Head to the comments below and share an ah-ha moment you’ve had in yoga class. Then, consider joining Motive for a class or retreat. We’d love to practice with you!

Bree Dillon1 Comment