This might sound obvious, but I don’t think it is... and I’d like to talk about how it applies it to both yoga and the entrepreneurial journey. And when I say entrepreneurial journey I mean anyone who's designing their life and career on their terms.
Doing it differently on your mat.
If you practice yoga, you are most likely use to poses being queued from a visual perspective. ”Heel to arch alignment.” “Don’t let your knee pass your ankle in a lunge.” “Bring your feet hip distance apart.” etc.… you get the picture.
While that is great to help you understand the shape of a pose and how, for example, Warrior 1 is different from Warrior 2, one size does not fit all and every‘body’ is going to look different in every pose. Definitely start with the general shape of the pose but then get to know how your body feels in the pose… as they say “make the pose fit the body, not the body fit the pose”. That also means that not every pose is going to fit every’body’.
Your yoga practice is a place to tune inwards and find what feels good in your body and what your body does and does not need or want. It’s not about trying to maneuver your way, and probably hurt yourself, into a particular pose.
The challenging part about this is that our ego looks at the person next to us, who either can bend in ways that make Gumby jealous or can balance their body weight on one arm, and it decides it wants to be able to do that as well. “If they can, why can’t I?” Practice makes perfect right? Nope, not right. Our exploring on our yoga mat does eventually show us (if we are willing to listen) that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and that we have to find what works for us. If we don’t listen to our bodies we often learn it the hard way through injury.
So a big part of any long-term yoga practice is to learn to tune inwards, to listen to your body and your mind and find out what really does work for you. What poses feel good in your body, what variations of the poses work best for you and even what style of yoga you prefer. To let go of the ego and find what is true to you. It often takes a long time to figure this out… and a few injuries to be sure. Just to keep it real, not long after the photo above was taken, my right shoulder decided that enough was enough and that it needed some attention. Arm balances were put on hold for me and I'm still on a journey to figure out what feels good for my body, specifically my shoulders.
Doing it differently on your entrepreneurial journey.
When you embark the journey of starting your own business, especially if you are doing it as a solopreneur, it’s essential to find a network and support system. Getting involved in and seeking our support from mastermind groups, local associations, online groups, following the experts, downloading ALL the freebies, and the list goes on. There is so much amazing quality information and support out there if you seek it.
But how many ‘5-steps to *fill in the blank*’ worksheets have you seen in your inbox? Are you draining yourself dry to keep up with ALL the social media feeds only to not get where you want to be? Or better yet, not feel how you want to feel? I know I’ve printed off more workbooks and signed up for more online courses that I can count. I’ve mastered my elevator speech and I’ve given up being present in my experiences to have to a good Instagram story. I’ve used various types of time management systems and I’ve almost perfected (whatever that means) my meditation, journaling, daily affirmations, visualization practices! I love absorbing information, learning from people with different points of views and trying new ways of getting into a mindset that serves me. But again… So. Much. Information. So. Much. To. Do.
So this is where my practice of understanding what works for me on my yoga mat can be applied off the mat.
For a long time, I just did what someone (directly or indirectly) told me to do thinking ‘this must be the way… they are successful so it must work’. I still do that, I still try something that sounds like fun or a good thing to learn. But what I’m also learning is that not everything is going to work for me. And MAYBE what works for me is what no one else is doing… it’s something I’m coming up with that is tailored just for me.
As on the mat, as in life.
Because just like on my yoga mat… no one is like me. No one else has the lifestyle, business, interests or mindset I have. Being able to really turn inwards and listen has been a true gift that I’m really just discovering off my yoga mat.
I am learning that I am my own best adviser, my own guru. While I am most definitely open to learning both on and off my mat (I’d be a professional yoga student if I could be) I am also honing my ‘what works best for me’ Spidey sense. I'm turning down the volume on the external noise. Plus, I’m also giving myself the grace to be okay with saying ‘I choose not to do this even though it seems like everyone else is.’
If I want to run a successful AND sustainable business while still enjoying my life overall, I need to be true to what it all looks like for me, only me.
My yoga practice has given me this gift…the ability to tune in and decide… what works for me in my practice, my life and my business. Only I can decide that for me. Only you can decide that for you.