Problem Solve Like a YogiSep 29, 2022
I’m going to tell you something this week that most yoga teachers are not going to tell you. Being a yoga teacher is tough.
I know it seems like a dream job. Yoga all day. Your work uniform is cute leggings. And, it’s all about peace, love, and breath work.
But, it’s so much more than that. These days, yoga instructors are, for the most part, small business owners – whether they work at a studio or not.
I, personally, was never an employee at a studio, but was an independent contractor. So, all business decisions are in your court whether you’re aware of that or not.
And, before you think I’m about to go on some sort of lecture about the trials and tribulations of being a yoga instructor, know I’m not going there.
Because for me it is a dream job. I love every aspect of it. From the creation of classes and workshops, to finding ways to unite the community that surrounds the classes, to working through the budget, designing the website, and writing these blog posts for you.
So, what is this about this week? It’s about problem solving like a yogi. Because as a small business owner, there are a lot of problems to solve.
And, over the years I’ve put a ton of problem-solving tips and tricks in my toolbox.
But, over the past year there is one that is my absolute go-to and I think it’s super useful and not always talked about… in fact, it’s never talked about because it goes against everything you’ve been taught when brought up in western society.
And, I’m going to share it with you this week because I think it’s also why yoga works so well for so many people to clear up anxiety and just general worry.
So, let’s get into it through a story from this past morning. It was supposed to be a day off - no teaching, no working on anything.
But, after I said goodbye to my husband for the day, I couldn't help myself but start clicking away on something I've been working on for my students.
My Dolce girl was snoozing beside me on the couch and everything was going well until I ran into an unexpected trouble spot. And, out of nowhere it seemed, I started having this super negative mindset about what I was working on.
One negative thought turned to another, which turned to a worse negative thought and then I was suddenly completely stressed out in a billion in one ways. Until the thought, “What am I doing with my life?” came to the surface.
And, that’s when I knew I had completely lost my mind.
Because, though I don't always know exactly what I’m doing with my life - as I said earlier, I love what I do.
But, I had to dig myself out of this really silly negative pit I had created.
And, I knew sitting on the computer MAKING it work was not going to help when my thoughts take a nosedive like that.
But, that’s what we’re taught, right? Sit there and make it work. Or, stew on it until you find a solution. Or, call all of your friends and see what they think. Poll the masses until you get an answer.
And, I’m going to tell you that is the exact opposite of what you should do.
The problem cannot be solved with the same mind that created it.
So, I closed my laptop and made a second cup of coffee. I sorted through the pantry to see if I still had a biscotti I could treat myself to. And, then I sat there in silence and enjoyed it.
From there, I did day off things. I went upstairs and sorted through my wardrobe, taking out my fall and winter sweaters and pants and stowing away the shorts and tank tops that won’t see the light of day until next May. I did this while blasting the Indigo Girls and singing at the top of my lungs.
From there, I took a long shower and got ready for my day.
Was I ready to get back to work? Nope. Not at all. I was feeling better, but I needed to put some space between my negative thoughts and the thoughts I knew would help me work this out.
So, I leashed up Dolce, got in my Jeep and drove out to one of my favorite Forest Preserves for a good 3-mile soak in nature on this gorgeous fall day.
Only after we had returned and I was completely feeling like myself again, did I crack open the laptop and get back to it. Because the solution had come to me. It was on mile 2 of my walk. Whew….
It just drifted in on a breeze. There it was – thank God. Thank the Universe.
And, because I practice this tool often enough - I knew it would happen. I knew I would find the solution and myself when I stepped away from it. But, I had to take the break. I had to step away. I had to get my mind off of it completely.
This is why I think so many of us fall in love with yoga. It makes us take the break from our problems, fears, and all the stress that the world serves up.
We have to put it all down when we step on the mat, as best we can. Because you literally cannot concentrate on two things at once. It’s going to either be the yoga posture or the problem because you will be booted out of that posture so quick when the mind wanders to the problem or the negative thought.
And, isn’t it funny how sometimes you’ll be in the middle of your practice, working through a sequence and a solution just flows to you when you least expect it? You can be right in the middle of deepest backbend of your life and all of sudden the clouds part and you know exactly what you’re going to do after the practice session is over and who you want to be while you’re doing it.
That’s what makes the practice so powerful. It’s for you and for everyone else.
So, you might ask why I didn’t step on my yoga mat and move when I got into this negative head space this morning? And, I’ll tell you.
It had to do with yoga. And, I needed to not think about yoga so the solution could come. The worst thing for me to do would be feel rubber sticky mat underneath my feet. And, that’s what can be tricky about being a yoga instructor – sometimes yoga is the problem.
So, that’s my big tip for the week. Have a problem? Run all the way away from it!!!
No, I’m just kidding.
But, take a break. Go do something else.
My go-to activities depending on the problem are: of course, yoga, playing piano, long walks in awesome places, exploring trails I haven’t been on yet in my area, reading a novel, puzzling, calling a friend, or helping someone else with their problem.
The problem will still be there when you come back to it, but you will be different. Your mind, your body, your spirit will be in the right spot for you to come up with a solution or at least a plan A.
So, try it this week. Step away when you need to. Honestly, sometimes 5-minutes is all you need.
However it works for you, let it work for you.
I truly believe that life is always pulling us to our greatest solutions. But, sometimes you have to go do something else, so you can truly see it.
Sending you love & hugs,
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