My Relationship With Resistance



Have you ever considered how much energy you put into resisting things? I often find myself resisting people/things that are new to me or hard for me to grasp. And how could I forget, I of course resist when things don’t go my way. Never was it more apparent to me than when I moved to the Bay Area, I was surrounded by new concepts and ways of approaching yoga. When I was in Denver, I (by choice) was living in a bubble where things were one way and I had become accustomed to and well-versed at doing things “that one way”.

When I went to classes out here, I would find myself having mental temper tantrums because I was under the assumption that I had this whole teaching thing figured out, I knew “the way” to do it and these people were doing it in some other way. Their cues and approaches to getting into poses were foreign to me. Their method of theming classes and working the room was different. Many studios that I went to (in San Fran, Oakland, and Berkeley) put a lot more emphasis on breath worth and meditation than I was used to. Not only was I resisting the yoga scene, I found myself resisting the people scene, the difference in culture. When I say I felt resistance to these things, I often times found myself feeling annoyed and irritated, focusing on (what I saw as) the negative. It wasn’t long before all of this resistance began to weigh me down and I became extremely humbled by life’s smack in the face: maybe the problem was me. Who was I to walk around judging everyone for their difference in opinion and attitude?

Most of us will feel resistance to new and different things in life until the day that we die. Through meditation and yoga I have come to the conclusion that we can do one of two things: be a reactor (get pissed off and angry) or simply step back and be an observer. Rather than letting the frustration define us and our experience, what if we practiced taking a step back and just look at the resistance as tool (not good or bad), something to learn from? Can we remain impartial? This has helped me immensely and I needed this realization now that I live in a densely populated area where I am constantly experiencing novelty. This shift in perception has shown me how IGNORANT I’ve been for most of my life. I have such little information about life in general and I’ve wasted so much time and energy resisting people and concepts that are different from me and that I know nothing about. I was no longer in my little bubble and if I kept resisting newness or difference, I would forever have blinders on that would keep the world as I knew it and my mind small. San Francisco has been such a beautiful place to take those blinders off and because of it, my yoga practice, my teaching and my relationships have explored new heights.

I want to make an important point, I am not trying to avoid feeling resistance, or figure out why (for now). I think it’s part of human nature. Rather than trying to figure out where it’s coming from and why I feel it towards certain people and things, I am just trying to acknowledge when I feel it. Here’s where we become accountable–once you notice resistance, you then have a choice: do you want to be a reactor or an observer? Thus, another way we can take responsibility for ourselves. I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, we are in the driver’s seat. It’s not other people’s fault that we feel resistance, but it is our fault if we become a reactor. Maybe one day I’ll come closer to understanding why resistance comes up for me, but until then my practice is to keep my eyes open. Becoming a reactor to resistance will keep you stuck and often leads us to behave in way that’s unbecoming. Again, I invite you to take charge and consider incorporating this practice into your life, on and off the mat.