Gina Caputo, Columnist
Director Of the Colorado School Of Yoga
Sometimes we’re blessed with a moment of clarity around what we know we need to do. Whether it’s cutting something or someone loose or embarking on a new mission professionally or personally, we’re faced with the conflict inherent in both experiencing the inner certainty and acknowledging how challenging the task(s) at hand will be.
Sometimes we get stalled at the starting line with doubts and fears. Other times, we experience a powerful start but don’t have the stamina to sustain the effort and get bogged down with frustration and resentment. And other times, we struggle to bring the vision to its full fruition, whether for a lack of resources or confidence in its value or ourselves. In each of these scenarios, having clarity around and connection to your WHY is essential for you to take the next step forward.
In the yoga industry, like every other industry, we ride the ebb and flow of clarity, efficacy and purpose. We feel certain, focused and enthusiastic at times, and other times doubt ourselves, the industry and our right to be in it. As the industry and practices change to keep the yoga commerce train chugging along and the masses engaged, it’s normal and natural to regularly question ourselves. In a “perfect world,” we’d find our mission and move confidently in the direction of that dream without second guessing. But in the real world, it’s important to relax around the need to regularly check in and re-evaluate, and not consider that need a sign of failure nor a reason to give up. Checking in at frequent intervals to see if we are in alignment with our values and passions is an essential step in this evolutionary journey that we call learning to live and thrive in community. Whether you’re flourishing and successful or struggling and uncertain, these check-ins are a practice of svadhyaya, or selfstudy. Where they get challenging is when you’re feeling very emotional and mistake the feast or famine you’re experiencing as a measure of your value as a human being. To resist this very human temptation, it helps to make asking yourself WHY a regular part of your decision-making and self-evaluation practices. Hold yourself to always having a clear WHY for any choice you make. It’s OK if the WHYs change along the way, but at every check-in, ask yourself WHY for everything, from your original WHY for starting down this path to the current WHY about your feelings, perspective and motivation. I know that if I’m not clear on what I stand for and WHY I’m doing something or feeling something, someone or something else will decide it for me, and that’s just not OK. When we’ve lost connection with our WHYs, we end up feeling disempowered, resentful, frustrated or depressed.
"I know that if I'm not clear on what I stand for and why I'm doing something or feeling something, someone or something else will decide it for me, and that's just not okay."
Some of my favorite practices for staying connected with my WHYS are:
1. Keep Educating Yourself – Your WHYs may change as you grow and evolve. Everything in life changes, and so should you. Education is a great way to shift your perspective and discover even more about your gifts, passions and areas you want to grow into.
2. Have a Trusted Council – Find those people who believe in you, have unconditionally got your back and are confident enough to tell you the truth or offer a perspective that may ask you to see things another way. They should hold you to your WHYs and provide a great soundboard for getting clarity around intention and purpose.
3. Journal – Our minds move a million miles an hour, but writing things down requires us to slow down a little and reflect. This doesn’t have to be fancy journaling; bullet lists and stream of consciousness writing work too.
4. Seek Like-Minded Community – Similar to a Trusted Council, like-minded community can help you feel like you’re not alone in your challenges, trials and tribulations. Find those people who resonate with what you’re going through—they may not have solutions, but it can certainly provide comfort to know you aren’t the only one.
5. Meditate – The more we sit with the fabric of our minds, the more stamina we develop for it and the more clarity we gain around who we are, what is important to us and WHY we make the choices we do. Though it isn’t easy nor always pleasant, it’s one of the greatest sources of insight you’ll ever experience. Right there, inside you, right now.