It’s Not A Problem
I met the yoga teacher at the door on the way to a noon vinyasa class. Vinyasa is what I call a “hard” class, requiring strength, flexibility, and at least some experience. I felt the need to state that I was taking the hard class only because I’d missed the easier one.
“You sound afraid,” she said with compassion. “You don’t need to be afraid. Just do what you can do.” (This same teacher promised me nobody has ever died from attempting a headstand.)
Ten minutes later, she was standing in front of a packed room, setting the stage: This class was going to be about “attitude,” she told us, opening with a parable:
There was once a young nun who entered convent to be a contemplative. That meant she’d go into her cell, communicating with no one save Mother Superior, who would check on her progress every five years. In those interviews, the young nun could describe her experience using only three words.
After the first five years, the three words were “love, bed, heart.” Mother Superior listened and said, “Good my child, just keep practicing.”
After the second five years, the nun said: “food, tastes, bad.”
“Keep practicing my child,” Mother Superior advised.
Then five more years passed and the nun came out and said, “I, quit, now.”
“Well, that doesn’t surprise me at all,” said Mother Superior. “You’ve been complaining the whole time.”
As the teacher moved us through the poses and flows, we could hear her voice telling us to not make the difficulty of the class a problem, to put our concentration on the challenging places—our injuries and weaknesses. Just allow them to be and to have the attitude that, whatever they are and wherever you are, it’s not a problem.
What if off the mat you could breathe into the challenges and celebrate your ability to grow stronger in the weak places? What if your attitude was simply: It’s not a problem. However long you’ll be there holding this low lunge with the side twist before you’re released, it’s not a problem. It’s okay to strengthen your body and mind, and feel sensations, and move energy around in order to make all that happen.
Outside of class, I began to practice the “It’s not a problem” approach and noticed a difference just in the awareness of my attitude. We can choose to approach people, circumstances, the voices in our heads, the outcome of every situation with fear and uncertainty (and who knows what else?). Or, we can stand up straight, smile, turn the music on and realize, hey, ladies, there’s no problem here. It’s no problem. It’s not a problem. No prob. NP.