…is similar to the approach to a challenging asana.
For instance, the asana below had me stumped since the beginning of this year:
I don’t remember where I saw it, but I wanted to be able to do it. I started with getting on to Google and YouTube and trying to find How To videos. Unfortunately, (or, in hindsight ‘fortunately’) I was unable to find anything helpful. So I approached the ‘problem’ like I would approach writing code during my engineering days. Break the problem into smaller parts and work on each part. Eventually, you’ll be able to put the parts together to create a whole.
To be able to do the final pose I would need strong arms and a strong core. Which meant hours of practicing arm balances with inversions thrown in to get more comfortable with a new perspective. I went back to my arm balances and started practicing them with a vengeance. Photographic evidence through the months:
The more I practiced, the more my ‘practice’ poses improved:
I gained enough strength and balance to try new poses.
And finally one day I finally got it (albeit with a lot of trepidation and shakiness).
And now, months after I started my quest, I’ve reached a milestone. I know, there’s a lot of room for improvement, but that’s how it’s always going to be :).
Life lessons learnt from this:
1. It’s not a problem, its a challenge (or in programming language lingo, it’s a ‘constraint’).
2. All challenges can be broken down into a series of smaller, time bound challenges. Work on overcoming these smaller challenges within the time-frame you’ve given yourself. In an attempt to overcome the challenge, don’t be too stingy with your timelines. (Yoga eg. I’ll go back to practicing my arm balances every day for two weeks. In the middle of Week 3 I will incorporate new arm balances. I will practice these every day for another 3 weeks.)
3. If you hit a roadblock ASK FOR HELP. Schedule time with your sister, best friend, parent, teacher…and talk about where you are and what you’re facing. Believe me, insight sometimes exists where you least expect it to be. (Yoga eg. I wanted a tutorial on how to do the final variation. But what worked for me was looking at/reading tutorials about all the asanas that I thought I had down pat, and refining them based on advice from experienced teachers.)
4. Celebrate small milestones. Remember, challenges are a part of life. So don’t wait for that fictitious time when you have no more problems or challenges to take a deep breath, or to stretch a little or to have that glass of wine. Celebrate NOW and re-fuel to continue working tomorrow. (Yoga eg. Reviewing photos of my arm balances improving makes me smile. For a lot of people these poses are a challenge in themselves.)
5. Pat yourself on the back for a challenge well faced. You’re now physically and mentally stronger to face the next one life throws at you. (Yoga eg. This variation needs to be worked on to be more seamless and more stable.)