Patience is most certainly a virtue – and is also a virtue I fundamentally lack. My lack of patience manifests in my life in many ways. My work is probably my best example as I have typically moved on from jobs in five years or less. When I did work at one company for almost ten years I had eight different jobs in two different countries so not sure that even counts. While I am sure my lack of patience comes from many different places, I think one of them is my Pitta nature which has me constantly looking for a new challenge once anything starts to feel stagnant or repetitive.
I am trying very hard to be more present and patient. For example, even though I have hit my year and a half twitch at work, I recognized this pattern in myself and am finding tools to get myself through. These tools include reframing my impatient thoughts and reminding myself that it is still new and I have so much more my team and I can accomplish. And, when that doesn’t work, I remind myself when I took my job I committed to staying at least five years and I need to prove I can!
Another thing that is helping me work on my lack of patience is Ashtanga Yoga.In Ashtanga you do the same set of postures in the same order every time. You also practice on your own at your own pace in a room of people who are doing the same with a teacher overseeing you. When the teacher sees you are ready, you are given a new posture and you advance through the series. And here’s the thing about Ashtanga yoga, it may be the same thing over and over but it is HARD! So, while repetitive, it is challenging and perfect for my Pitta nature as it is a physical and spiritual battle every time I get on my mat.
My lack of patience showed up on my mat in Ashtanga when I faced the first posture I couldn’t get past – MarichyasanaA. I have had tight shoulders for as long as I can remember and as this posture is a seated bind it was a lot for me to tackle. If I was in a typical yoga class I would just skip it and think “I can’t do it” but you don’t have that choice in Ashtanga. If you want to move on in the series, you need to master your current posture. And I wasn’t about to give up.
After a few weeks of working on the pose, I was still struggling and was getting angry about it. One day, when the time to do the pose came, instead of trying it I started fidgeting, playing with my towel and frankly pouting. My teacher noticed, came over, took my towel away and asked me what was going on. I explained my frustration to which she replied “You haven’t been working on it very long.” I was floored. Not very long? It had been WEEKS. Whatever could she mean?
After the intervention, I tried to take a new approach and asked what I could do to help improve my shoulder flexibility She recommended acupuncture (game changer!) and some shoulder stretches. And what do you know, after helping myself out and continuing to practice, I was able to complete the pose a few weeks after that.
This was back in November and while I have progressed, I am still ‘stuck’ in the Marichyasana series and can’t get a complete bind in B or C (but am close!) and I fear D may take a lifetime. But instead of getting frustrated I try to pay attention to the progress I AM making and take note of that each day. After all, my teacher told me it took her a year to get Marichyasana C– A YEAR! – and if she can wait that long, well then, I guess I can too?