You’ve started doing yoga recently, coming along to group classes, and you’re feeling good! More energy, less back pain, generally happier. Yoga is a new part of your life and one you’re proud of.
But whilst it’s easy adding all the benefits together, there’s one small niggle. Something that’s been playing on your mind and just won’t seem to shift. What were you doing before? Why is it only now that you’ve started doing yoga? Despite your best efforts not to, you find yourself peering around the room at other students and concluding that you’re, by far, the oldest one there – and you’re not too happy about it.
Often when we start something new, it can prompt us to look at the past. We compare the new feeling or way of living with what we experienced previously. And, because we’re doing it now (disregarding the significant factors which got us there), we can’t understand what stopped us before! Students often say to me a variation of this:
“My only regret is that I didn’t start yoga sooner.”
Then followed by a string of ‘should have, would have, could have’ sentences. “I should’ve practised yoga as a teenager – I wouldn’t have been so highly strung.”, “I would’ve been happier and less emotional had I gone to class at University.”, “I could’ve experienced a lot less anguish in relationships if I discovered yoga before.”
You’re not alone
Perhaps it’s comforting to know many of us feel this way. We look at opportunity lost and judge ourselves for our past choices. We spend time feeling bad and comparing ourselves to what we see in others. We plain ol’ wish the feel-good (better moods, improved confidence, more calm) could have started earlier! That way, we would have missed out on a lot of pain suffering, and everything just would have been alright.
But it’s important not to get too carried away with this idea. To not let the “X have” thoughts cloud the feel-good you’re experiencing right now. We all ‘could have, should have, would have’ if circumstances were different, and we were different. But they weren’t and we weren’t. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
So, let’s flip your focus. Coming into the breath and this moment here and now. What’s going on right now? Well, for one, you’ve started doing yoga! Something you love and enjoy, and the benefits are aplenty. Let’s revel in that for a moment…
Take time to congratulate yourself for making it to the mat. So, it wasn’t 10 years ago, but never mind! You’re doing it now and it’s OK to be feeling wonderful.
And each time your mind starts to wander, you slip into the comparison game and your stomach sinks, remember – you’re doing perfectly. Just what you’re meant to be doing. So, let’s not allow our regrets to detract from our happiness today. How about this for a turn around:
“I’m doing yoga today and it’s wonderful.”
So, I’d love to hear from you. Have you started doing yoga recently? Do you struggle with the age-thing, and give yourself grief for not arriving earlier? Or have you found a way to stay present, and feel contentment with wherever you’re at on your yoga journey? Do share by leaving a comment below.