I consider myself to be a pretty patient person (or so I’ve been told) AND I know that I can also lack patience and be impatient.  I often want things to happen more quickly even though I know some things just take time.  I use my yoga practice regularly to help me cultivate patience.  

To me, yoga itself is about patience.  Yoga is a journey or a path we travel getting to know all parts of ourselves.  It isn’t really just getting on your mat once or twice a week for a class or practice.

Having patience with our parts.

Part of the yoga journey is having patience with our body.  Not forcing ourselves into postures our body isn’t ready for or striving to compete or be better than others.  Patience is supporting our bodies where they are right now in this moment and unfolding (sometimes literally) as we are invited.  Part of this process is learning to listen, watch and witness.

We also practice patience with our energy.  I’m sure you have days when you have had low energy and you just needed to “push through” to get it done.  We all do this sometimes.  On your mat however, it is important to check in with your energy and practice accordingly.  Sometimes you might have low energy but find that a high energy practice is the right practice.  Other times, if your energy is low it is better to do a low energy practice like gentle, yin or restorative.  Or maybe you just need Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep).  

There might even be periods in your life where you only do a quiet practice for months to help support your energy.  I remember the first time I needed to only do a quiet practice and how I beat myself up about it.  At the time, I was still in the phase of believing yoga had to “look” one way.  I’m glad I have matured and learned to listen to what is right for me on any given day.

The mind is another BIG opportunity to practice patience.  In fact, sometimes I think the mind is the hardest to practice patience with – we think we should be able to control it.  When I find I have a busy mind, I often sit with the busyness.  I affirm or acknowledge all the “thoughts” and allow them to be present.  I then work on being patient with them and allowing them space and my companionship rather than pushing them away or letting my inner critic get upset.

Lastly, in yoga we need to practice patience with our emotions.  This can also be a tough one in our society where we aren’t given permission to be with our emotions.  Yoga provides the space for us to be patient with our emotions.  We can sit or move and be present with all we are feeling.  We might cry through practice or be angry or happy.  The trick is to allow ourselves the moments to feel our emotions and to be patient with those emotions as they unfold.

Yoga asks us to stay in the present moment.  When we are impatient, we are typically in the future or maybe even the past.  We are not able to be patient.

Patience helps us to achieve our goals and dreams.  It keeps us grounded and in the present moment.  It helps us to stay focused.  Most importantly it can help us lead a more peaceful life.

Here’s to finding patience both on and off your mat AND on your life journey.