Those of you who follow my blog probably know that I practice yoga. I started because a back injury from several years ago left me in constant pain, not being able to stand for any length of time or touch my toes. For some, touching their toes is not in their wheelhouse at all. But for me, having once been a dancer, staying flexible was important. It was part of who I was. I had heard a lot about yoga, so I decided to try it. And I loved it.
Like most people, I started to notice the physical benefits first. Better flexibility, looser joints, better balance. And yes, I can happily say that I can now touch my toes again in a full forward bend.
So that’s the physical gain. But what really impressed me–and continues to impress me–is the guidance I find when I am on the mat.
During yesterday’s class, in the late afternoon of a hot Napa day, we were in a pose that some–especially men who usually have tighter hips than women– find difficult. We were well into the practice and all warmed up. Even though we were warm, it was not an easy pose. Seeing the trouble some of us were having trying to maintain the pose, our instructor called out, ” Signal me if you need props. It’s best to use props to get the maximum benefit from the pose. It’s even better than struggling.”
Her comment echoed in my ears as people in the class raised a hand for a block or a bolster. With the supporting props, we were all able to relax into the pose and experience the full benefit of what it could offer.
There are too many times in life when we need support but are afraid to ask. So many people feel that asking for help is a sign of failure. I’ve known many Type-A personalities who would never dream of asking for a prop, whether in the office, an exercise class, or their personal life. It would be a sure sign of weakness. But the truth is, asking for help is a sign of strength.
One of the reasons people give up on goals, whether health, career, or even the pursuit of happiness, is that they feel they need to go it alone. However, if we never ask for help when we need it, those goals simply won’t happen. Just getting through the day can be hard enough. Add change to the mix, and many times the recipe just doesn’t come together. We stay stuck where we are.
We all have the ability to make changes in our lives. And those changes can have terrific results. But if we try to do it all alone, chances are those changes just won’t happen. In this lesson from the mat, I was reminded of the importance of asking for help when I need it.
It is not a sign of weakness. In fact, getting support during times of change is one of the best ways to ensure you will reach your dream.
If you are struggling with something, go ahead and raise your hand. It’s okay to ask for help. You will get where you want to go faster. Thankfully, most of us are surrounded by people who would love to lend a hand, an ear, or just a shoulder. My guess is that they are just waiting to be asked.