You need the struggle

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Hollow Back_Handstand.jpg
 

We’ve all had those dark days. Those days when we wonder if it’s all worth it. What’s the point? I find myself going through existential crisis most days.

Life is not easy. I don’t believe it was ever meant to be. The greatest lessons any of us can learn are those given through adversity. Through pain and suffering. All too often we are quick to judge and compare our lives to those of others. We live in a world whereby magazines and even more immediate, social media, depicts these perfect lives of the rich and famous. But let me tell you my friends, the rich and  famous have problems too. Money does not equate to happiness. Fame does not guarantee happiness either. Just because people know your name is not a measure of a successful life. Far from it. Just look at the number of suicides, drug overdoses and broken families within Hollywood and you’ll see this is no lie.

Whilst going through difficult times are not fun, and of course we’d rather more happy times than sad, the reality is, these experiences, these lessons, are part of your journey. And you must go through them. Not only will they make you stronger and wiser, they will also help you to become a more understanding, empathetic person.

I do not teach what I do not know or have not been through. I have seen people hit rock bottom and rise again; I have also seen others never recover and give in to the forces around them. I’ve personally been through heartache, breakdowns, anxiety and physical pain I would never wish upon a worst enemy.  But through a stubborn will to keep going, and a belief that my life means something and that I have something to share that could be of value to others, I continue to pick myself up and keep going. Because let’s face it, what choice do I have! What choice do you have?

Struggle is a given. Life was not meant to be easy. Not only would it be extremely boring if it were, but where would the sense of achievement be if everything came easily? Achievements would no longer be achievements. Relationships will be of little value and happiness would dwindle. We need the challenges to live meaningful lives.

It is because I accept that life is challenging that I appreciate the ‘easier’ moments, the calm days, the cups of tea, the drives to the hills and walks along the beach. It’s because I’ve been through MANY challenges that I can guide my students from a genuine place of love and compassion.

Reflecting on my life, I wouldn’t change a thing. My path is my path. Just as your path is yours. It shapes who we are and who we choose to be in every moment of every day.

Life is a gift. Adversity and pain is a gift. If you can shift your perception to truly believe this, then suddenly your world will begin to open. 

Sending compassionate hugs,

Jessica xx

If it's easy, is it worth it?

 
 

Everything hurts. From the top of my head down to my little toes, it’s all sore. I forget how challenging it is training here in Mysore, India. But in saying that, my aching body is a fabulous reminder of why I come here each year! No, I’m not a sucker for punishment. Rather, I understand it is through this intense level of practice that I progress. That I am coming to know myself a little more every day.

There is a huge misunderstanding in the west that yoga is easy. That it’s all about relaxation and some gentle stretching. This couldn’t be more wrong. Whilst these classes exist, and I LOVE to attend them occasionally, for me this is not what the practice is about. The challenge of the practice, continuing to attend class even though everything hurts, is all yoga. The discipline is yoga. And what I’ve personally come to experience through this intensity is how quickly my body responds to it. Yes, there are the initial aches. The initial, “I can’t get off the toilet seat,” moments. And it’s going to last a few days. I know this. But this is good pain, and its temporary.

Nothing in life comes easily. Nothing. I believe how we practice is a symbol of how we live our lives. Do we look for the easy path or are we open to the challenge?

Whilst I hate to say it, and accept in some instances, to live a life we are truly proud of, one we are truly connected to and that is meaningful, requires effort. Work. With yoga, we talk about bringing the lessons we learn on our mats into our daily life, a statement I fully support. I’ve found that the more confronting the practice, the deeper the lessons. Conversely, the more detached or ‘going through the motions’ the practice, the less I learn.

Yoga does not discriminate and it will ruthlessly illuminate the bullshit we tell ourselves and the areas we need to work on. How we move our body on the mat is a reflection of how we live our lives. Does the alarm go off in the morning and you think, “I can’t be bothered today, I’m going back to sleep,” or does the alarm go off and you still think, “I’m tired, I can’t be bothered with my practice, but I know it’s important so up I get!” BIG difference between these two mindsets and something to really contemplate as it will set the tone for your day and your life. I too, struggle with this. I am not some yoga machine who does not feel pain, get tired or want to run away and hide sometimes. As I mentioned earlier, my entire body is in pain right now. To sleep, to eat, to shower has all become an effort. If anything, I just want to sleep for the next month because I’m human and I’m bloody tired!

But I won’t give up on my practice as I would consider it an injustice to myself should I give up and allow the temporary aches dictate how I approach each day. Why? Because this would not just be a reflection of my practice, but it would also be a reflection of my life. Of my approach to life.

So with all that said – I figure it is a new year and let’s all take advantage of that. We have new ambitions, desires, goals we want to achieve – all of which can only be achieved through action. Even when you don’t feel like it, or it’s been a shitty day that you want well behind you – act. Don’t give up on You. Try not to allow external forces out there dictate how you live your life. Develop rituals to ensure each and every day is bringing you a little nearer to your goals. Try not to fixate on the goal either. Enjoy the journey. The struggles. The aches and pains. View these challenges as growth. Learning. An opportunity to deepen your connection with yourself. If you practice yoga and a posture is tough that day. Work with it. Don’t give up. Explore it a little more. Challenge yourself a little further. You might be surprised what you uncover in the process.

And remember, it is the moments when you want to run and hide that you need to face head on. Sure, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, it may hurt a little. But at the end of the day, there is nothing more satisfying than achieving something you have worked hard for.

So get back on your mat, be present in the moment, don’t give up and enjoy the bumps along the way :)

Sending hugs from India

Jessica xx