We are often in a hurry to achieve things. We complain when things don’t work efficiently, when public transportation is not on time, or when the person in front of us is walking too slowly. We get annoyed when things aren’t delivered on time, when others don’t respond quickly enough, and most often when we don’t see results. Even when we are at our most relaxed, we still get annoyed when our expectations are not met. And yes, most of us are guilty of this behavior even on the most relaxing yoga retreat.
AVOID FALLING INTO THE ‘RESULTS’ TRAP
Going on a retreat is a great way to disconnect from the stressors of daily life, to explore new places, make new friends, and to rediscover our sense of adventure. However, even in a stress-free environment, we can sometimes find ourselves falling into the usual trap of looking for results, and making comparisons with others in terms of progress. For example, thoughts like ‘I wish I could touch my toes’ or, ‘I wish I could stand up on the surfboard’ are not uncommon.
For many of us, doing something for the first time – like yoga or surfing – can bring up feelings of anxiety, irritation, or even disappointment. Of course, it’s not unreasonable to expect quick results. But when our expectations are not met, our reactions can start to cause more harm than good, and the purpose of going on a retreat to reconnect with ourselves can be lost.
FIND POWER IN SLOWING DOWN
The power of slowing down is often underestimated. Learning a new skill like surfing or yoga requires a great amount of effort and time. And not everything has to be a competition. You’d be surprised by how much you can actually enjoy something when you slow it down. Rediscover how to breathe underwater, or how to balance on one leg. Remember how fun it used to be to do these things as a child?
So the next time you are having a lesson, whether it’s yoga, surfing or whatever it is you’re learning, let go of all goals and deadlines you might have set for yourself. Instead, take a deep breath, and look around you. Notice, as if you are noticing for the first time, where you are, whom you are with, and how you got to where you are. Maybe there is no new skill to learn. Maybe all the skills you want you already have. And maybe, you can make a little room for feelings of gratitude just are you are. If you trip or fall, it’s okay; it’s all part of the journey.
Slow down, enjoy the simple things, and just be.
Written by: Leona Tan