Don't wait for someone to fix you - only you can do that
Updated: Oct 8
By Indira Das-Gupta
Have you ever handed over your hard-earned cash to a self-styled specialist in the sincere hope that they would be able to fix whatever was ailing you? Maybe it was a bad back or dodgy knee, or perhaps you were feeling anxious or low, or felt you were packing a few extra pounds. Whatever the issue, we all want to believe in that magic wand that can just wave away our problems as quickly and painlessly as possible. Why put yourself through the mill when you can just pay someone to do the hard work for you?
The thing is, when you visit one of these so-called specialists, their whole business is dependent on you coming back to be regularly sorted out. I’m not suggesting for a nanosecond that all specialists are unscrupulous crooks. But the results of their treatments are usually temporary.
If you really want to feel better in the long run then the only way to do it is to take a long hard look at your current lifestyle and be prepared to make changes and stick to them. If you get a lot of back pain then you need to work out why and then try to avoid doing those things that aggravate it and do more of the stuff that makes it feel better. Sounds pretty simple right? Simple maybe, easy, no. This will require self-discipline on your part. Sure you can pay someone to shout at you to do your exercises but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort yourself.
We all know someone who has bought a gym membership in the hope that if they pay their direct debit every month then they will damn well get their money’s worth, except they often don’t. Then they end up feeling guilty about all the money they are wasting and feel even more demoralised.
If you have been doing Yoga for a while but are not really seeing the results you want, be honest: are you really being consistent? It’s all very well going to three hard sweaty classes in a week, but if you then don’t go for a month, you will be back to square one. You need to be prepared to stick with it for the long haul.
If you only decided to try Yoga because you were badgered into it, rather than because you genuinely wanted to, you will more than likely struggle to keep it up. As long as you only do something because you feel it’s good for you or because you have been told to do it, you are always going to feel some degree of resistance and resentment.
You genuinely need to change your mindset by starting to appreciate the benefits your new regime brings and find the joy in it. If you tell yourself that you hate exercise, it’s always going to be hard to find the willpower to do any. If you genuinely find exercise about as appealing as a Brussels Sprout smoothie, maybe start by saying to yourself: “I want to feel better and I’m prepared to put in the effort because I value my health.” Maybe in time you will even start to look forward to it and enjoy that post-high workout you get after a run, swim, bike ride, Yoga class or whatever form or activity you choose to take up. If you really give Yoga your best shot for at least three months and still find you don’t really enjoy it, maybe Yoga is not for you. And that’s totally fair enough. Try and find something that you can look forward to and that you are at least 100 per cent more likely to stick to.
And don’t think that you can embark on some super-strict regime just to get the results you want and then go back to bad habits. In the seven years I have been running North London Yoga Studio I have seen so many people throw themselves into Yoga with real gusto, attending classes several times a week, only to burn themselves out and then give up. You have to be realistic about what you can fit into your life on an ongoing basis as you will only enjoy the benefits for as long as you keep putting in the effort. This is not what most people want to hear,
“What you mean there’s no quick fix and I have to keep working at it?”
Yep ‘fraid so!
It may seem like a huge amount of effort at the beginning, it will get easier but you still need to regularly set aside time and put in the effort if you want to feel your best. As anyone who’s lost a substantial amount of weight will tell you, it’s not just losing the weight that’s challenging, you then have to keep it off.
I don’t do hours of self-practice every day because I am a mother of two running my own business and simply don’t have the time. However I do practise pretty much every single day and have done for the past 16 years. I don’t tell you this to impress you or scare you off, but simply because it’s true. I still can’t do the splits after all these years but I definitely feel a hell of a lot better than I did before I discovered Yoga. And that is why I keep doing it. If I don’t do it, I don’t feel as good and I’d rather feel like the best version of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I have mornings where I would rather stay in bed a bit longer rather than get up and practise, but it’s become as much a part of my daily routine as my morning cup of coffee. It’s part of my life.
I’m not saying you should do Yoga every day. But if you really want to experience the myriad benefits it can offer, be prepared to put in the work and stick with it. I’m a very experienced teacher but I can’t fix you, only you can do that.
If my blog resonates with you or got you thinking then please follow me @indiranorthlondonyoga on Instagram