Fighting the Resistance

Resistance - via Slow Your Home

I’m very much a yoga novice. I take a class twice a week and practice most days, but I’m not much more than an enthusiastic beginner.

When I’m in a pose or a stretch I find difficult, my body does this weird thing where it resists the movement. It actively works against itself to stop me from going all the way into a stretch.

Recently I’ve learnt that breathing into it, letting go, releasing the resistance and relaxing helps. A pose I don’t think I can get into (mermaid, anyone?) often becomes easier when I mindfully choose to release the resistance and breathe into it.

(As an aside, that’s one of the things I’m loving so much about yoga – it’s such a mindful practice. No matter how preoccupied I am when I walk in to the class, my mind is clear of everything except yoga for those 60 minutes. I come away feeling mentally light.)

This weekend, as I was doing the washing up, trying to listen to music, hearing the kids squeal and play, thinking of all the stuff I had to do before going out later in the day, I could feel my shoulders get tense. I could feel the muscles of my back crawl up my spine as I continued to resist life.

I didn’t want it to be noisy, I didn’t want to be washing up, I didn’t want to go out that afternoon.

But I realised that resistance was coming from me, not from the circumstances I found myself in. I was resisting those not fun parts of my morning. I was resisting the things that needed to happen. I was resisting life. The everyday, mundane, not fun parts of life felt like something I wanted to fight against.

Of course, the reality is that I can’t. And I don’t really want to.

I don’t live in a vacuum, and there are things I need to do simply because I would be a jerk if I didn’t. There are parts of daily life that aren’t amazing, so it’s best I quit resisting and soften into it.

Standing at the kitchen sink, my shoulders climbing higher up my neck, I took three big deep breaths and told myself to quit fighting and enjoy the moment, in all its mundane normalness.

And while this sounds like typical bloggish hyperbole, the truth is that my shoulders dropped, the fuzzy feeling in my head disappeared and I felt peaceful. even amongst the everyday noise and chores and life stuff.

When it comes to mindfulness, I feel like I’m pretty much an enthusiastic beginner, much like my yoga practice. But I have learnt enough over the past few years of slowing down and simplifying to recognise the benefits of releasing this kind of resistance.

I feel happier, more content, more present, more at ease with wherever I am in life. I feel less stress, less anxiety, less strain, less distraction. Simply by not fighting the resistance.

(Which sounds like some kind of Star Wars reference. But, really, I’m not that clever.)

——

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who listened to The Slow Home Podcast last week. The number of people who tuned in blew my mind (well over 20,000 people at last check) and the feedback I’ve received has been amazing, so thank you.

I also received a few emails asking about the blog now I’ve launched the podcast, and I wanted to reassure you I will still be writing blog posts here every Monday. I think much more clearly when I write, and I also know there are a lot of people who would prefer to read than listen, so the written posts aren’t going anywhere.

Every second Friday 6,000 people also receive my newsletter, which includes an exclusive post (for subscribers only) and a list of Five Things For Your Weekend – a collection of links, thoughts, challenges and other tidbits. If you want to receive the newsletter, you can sign up here.

So the good news is you can now get your Slow Home inspiration three ways:

9 Responses to Fighting the Resistance

  1. I love this. I’m in the middle of a yoga teacher training and it’s taken me to a whole new level of understanding. Something we learned that popped into my head when reading this has to do with holding poses. You’re not actually in an asana or pose unless you’re balancing sthira and sukha which can be translated as stability/strength and ease. I’ve also seen it translated as effort and surrender. I loved that. It made me realize that it’s not important to crank myself into a pose but rather to find the place where I’m at my edge…balancing strength with ease, still able to breath. I think it can relate to our day as well, off the mat. I’m constantly aware now of whether I’m really breathing or not. I often find I’m at my most stressed when I’m not taking full deep breaths. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I’m really breathing.

  2. For me its folding laundry. I really did not want to do it.

    Once I knew this I tried to fold laundry and stay mindful during the folding.

    Not only did I start to fold way better, but it actually was fun!

    Thanks for the post :)

  3. Thank you for this post! I have noticed this in my own life as well – when I don’t want to do something, I get cranky and tense. I might as well cross my arms and stamp my feet like a petulant child. If I recognize what is happening, I sometimes WILL stamp my feet, and I always feel better after. The problem is when I don’t recognize what is happening – then I just end up being a grouch to everyone. It’s good that you can recognize it!

  4. I enjoyed reading this post because this is something I’m working on myself – letting go. That muscle creep happens to me when I feel I’m stretched too thin. Next thing I know, I’m talking to my 5 year old through clinched teeth. However, the things I “have” to do are in my own mind (i.e. never having dirty dishes in the sink) and I realized if I do a little bit at a time instead of all at once – which takes some planning – I have time to focus more of my time and energy on my family – and myself. Those yoga and meditation moments are so delightful and much needed.

    Thank you for sharing!

  5. I do not know Yoga, but I practice Taijiquan and Qi Gong and I think it is wonderful how these techniques of mindfulness and leeting go spill into everyday life. So nice to read, that it happens to you, too.

  6. One thing that helps me when I’m feeling resistance is to remind myself that the things I’m doing or “have to do” are, in fact, a choice. No one is forcing me to. I am doing the dishes because I believe in the value my clean house brings to my family and me. I am cooking dinner from whole, unprocessed foods because I believe in that. I could set the kids in front of the tv all day and get fast food for dinner. But, I’m choosing something else. Just reframing the work of the day helps me to embrace it.

  7. “There are parts of daily life that aren’t amazing, so it’s best I quit resisting and soften into it.”

    Well said! I am in the process of “softening”, but have so far to go in some areas. ;) Like Meredith, I’ve had to learn to reframe some of my daily chores.

Leave a reply