Never Give Up: Adventures in Yoga and Rock Climbing
My heart pounded and sweat dripped down my face. “I can’t go anymore,” I told myself as I pressed my body closer to the wall, my fingers sliding off the slim hand holds. “I’ve got you!” Michael yelled 50 feet below. I looked down. Big mistake. I looked up, only 15 feet to go. You’ve done it before, Stacey, you can do it now! My eyes stared straight into a broken handhold. The hold that I naturally wanted to grab based on my positioning. Stressed and frustrated my heart pounded faster. “I can’t I have to come down, there is no where for me to go. I’m losing strength!” my mind kept chanting.
“Take your time, I’ve got you!” I heard that supportive voice again from below.
Shallow breaths, heart pounding, sweat increasing. I can’t. I can. I can’t. I can. I can’t.
I CAN AND I DID. I reached the top of the wall, hit the final hand hold and yelled, “Coming down!” A giant smile on my face. I didn’t give up.
WHAT HAPPENED UP ON THAT ROCK WALL?
I didn’t give in to my mind, knowing that physically my body would take me where I needed to go. I credit my yoga practice for that belief. I learned over the years that my body is stronger than I think and that my mind is often first to give up, especially when faced with physically or mentally challenging situations. That’s what I love most about teaching yoga and other mind/body connecting practices: helping people over come roadblocks by building not only physical strength but mental strength as well. Helping people connect in to the strength in their body and their mind.
Every experience is an opportunity for me to practice overcoming roadblocks. My knowledge of yoga helped me get through the rock gym roadblock. I will use the memory of this rock gym experience to help me overcome the next roadblock. Do you see how that works? We must have practices in place so that when faced with a real life situation we are equipped to handle it. Without my practices I would not have the strength physically or mentally to get to the top of the rock wall, enjoy nurturing relationships or a successful career.
The next time you hit a roadblock on an otherwise smooth road, consider the following before you let your mind take over and give up.
Remember to breathe. It’s basic, it’s simple, it’s necessary and it works. Check in with your breath, no matter the situation and see what you can do to slow it down. Tension releases allowing your body and mind to slow down, providing the mental clarity you need to proceed toward your goal.
Check in with your body. The mind and body are not separate, they are fueled by one another. Yet too often we let our mind take over, disregarding the strength we have in our hearts and our bodies. When they are both relaxed, wonderful things can happen. When they are disconnected, well, we give up. The next time you notice your mind racing with thoughts, pause from thought and check in with your body. Is your body really ready to give up or is your mind is talking smack. If your mind is talking smack, tell it to shut up for a bit. Your physical body is stronger than you think.
What’s the rush? Climbing a rock wall 65 feet up is challenging and tiring both physically and mentally. Perhaps the broken handhold was my signal to slow down in order to achieve success. Next time you’re faced with a roadblock, avoid frustration and take heed, maybe it’s time for a short rest. Take time to enjoy the process, not just the destination. The challenges make you stronger.
Re-assess the course. My climb was smooth until I got to that broken handhold. By taking a moment to pause, look at my current location and then look around for options, I was able to re-position myself for success. In this case I took a few steps down before I continued up the wall. I needed a new position in order to achieve success. Don’t get locked into your course, remain flexible.
Don’t go it alone. Support is critical in anything that you do. I was not on this rock wall alone. Michael provided support by belaying me. I needed to hear the occasional, “I’ve got you.” and “There is no rush, take your time”. I felt safe and supported – two keys to success. With his support I was free of fear.
Have you ever hit a roadblock in your life and been quick to give up? What practices do you have in place to help you overcome those roadblocks?