Help: embracing the four-letter word.

  We value people who seem to have it all together, who seem to win the Oscar, the Super Bowl, the job, the whatever with personal grit, natural talent, and perhaps the tiniest whiff of effort. 

It’s not surprising that same mentality shows up on the yoga mat. Even when a pose is too challenging, or even painful, we can be hesitant to pull back. Using a modification feels like failure and goodness forbid we reach for a block or a strap. We’d rather wobble unsteadily, avoid the pose altogether, or mentally curse the yoga teacher who called the pose highlighting our weakness.

I’ll admit I’m speaking from personal experience. When I first tried yoga, I was determined to make it through every pose in every class — even if I felt light-headed or my muscles cried uncle. When the teacher called poses like double pigeon, which still taxes my inflexible hips, I thought mean thoughts. Everyone could see my lack of flexibility (as if they cared) and I didn’t like that. If the teacher ever brought me a block to help me into a pose, I felt a raw mixture of humility and shame. It seems silly to feel that way because of a yoga class, but I find that the feelings that show up on the mat have been festering off the mat for a while. Sure enough, for years, I was terrified of admitting I didn’t have it all together and that sometimes, I needed help.

With a bit more wisdom, I’ve come to accept help a little more graciously. If someone offers to bring over dinner or watch the kids, I don’t force a smile and insist that I’m okay. Or when someone at work asks whether I need help, I try not to say “no” automatically. Instead, I do a quick inventory and do my best to answer honestly. 

In this week’s posts, I’ll focus on tools and poses that rely on a little help to enjoy a pose. Hopefully, these posts will serve as a reminder that accepting help can be a blessed thing.


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