Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities

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What is laid before us may actually serve as an aid on the path rather than the obstacle we take it to be.

Donna Farhi

Along my yoga journey, there have been countless times in which my students have taught me some of my greatest lessons, whether they are related to the instruction of the physical practice of yoga or to life off of the mat. Just recently I had one of these experiences with a yoga student that has stayed with me since the day it occurred and has really helped shape the way that I view obstacles that arise in our daily lives.

A couple of weeks ago, I was teaching a yoga class for my co-workers at the middle school I teach at. This class takes place once a week and is held soon after all students have been dismissed for the day. One of the teachers who attends this class regularly realized that when she had gathered the items she wanted to have for class, she had accidently grabbed her little girl’s leggings rather than her own yoga pants and had walked out the door without grabbing her yoga mat.

Prior to the start of the yoga practice on this particular day, she had come down to share this mishap with me and display the tiny pair of leggings she had accidently mistaken as her own, which generated a chuckle from all that were in the room. She also shared that she had walked out of her house without her mat. At this point I fully expected her to make the decision to not participate in that day’s practice, and instead rejoin us the following week. However, rather than seeing this as an obstacle she made the choice to still practice, in skinny jeans nonetheless, with an old yoga mat that I happened to have in my car. Her decision absolutely blew me away and I am so grateful for the lesson it provided me!

Frequently, when things don’t meet our expectations we see them as obstructions to our path, rather than simply portions of our journey. I have definitely fallen victim to this, whether it is related to my own yoga practice or other areas of my life. As these obstacles arise, instead of using them as stepping-stones to continue along my journey, I see them as a hindering factor that derails me from what I would like to do or accomplish.    

Instead of holding on to our expectations of how we think things should be, it would be in all of our best interests to let go of these attachments. By letting go, we have the ability to open ourselves up to all the possibilities obstacles can truly provide. These obstacles have the ability to teach us so much about ourselves as well as our lives, as long as we remain open to learning from them, instead of seeing them only as a nuisance or problem.

Rather than allowing an obstacle to derail you from taking that yoga class, or pursuing your dream, or whatever else you want to achieve, can you see it as a stepping-stone to help you along your path?