Through yoga I have been able to learn so much about myself and life in general, I thought it would be a great idea to use my own yoga journey to tell you about some great lessons I am learning along the way.
I remember walking into my first yoga class just a couple of months ago, and watching my yoga teacher, William, show us poses I thought a human being wouldn’t be able to replicate. It was crazy! He was challenging gravity, mind and body limitations, and more! I wasn’t sure whether I should just walk out the door and quit whilst I was ahead or finish the class and leave politely and never go back again.
I finished the class and realised that even though I assumed yoga would be a breeze because I was in fairly good shape, I really struggled with it. I am used to running long distances with my podcast on, as I love being able to learn and run, multitasking two of my favourite activities.
But yoga requires a quietened mind, a focus on movements generated with internal energy and intention, and the ability to be able to just let go of any preconceived ideas you may have about what you can and cannot do.
I was so curious about yoga and what this group of people were able to do in class, that I kept going back, studying every single one of them as they moved and developed their practise. The weekly practises started to pay off, as I slowly started to improve, but somehow I knew in my mind that certain poses, like headstands, I would never be able to achieve. I would leave the room feeling frustrated with myself and upset that I wasn’t able to do a headstand. I watched others who weren’t as strong, or young, carry out their headstands with confidence, which made me feel even more discouraged about not being able to do it.
And then I thought to myself, instead of comparing myself to others and try to follow their path, how about I come up with my own set of steps? I was so afraid I would fall and hurt my back, so I started practising with the wall close by, so if I fell the wall would catch me. Then I took a break from it all as I knew that distance was one of the best tips for alleviating frustration. Just two steps, but it started to work, I started to relax my mind and just allow myself to be in the moment, working through the pose bit by bit, with no expectations. Suddenly I started to be able find the right core stability, head position, then raise my legs, and yesterday, out of nowhere, I performed my first “perfect” headstand.
What I thought a couple of months ago was a task impossible to achieve, yesterday I made it happen. All it took was my commitment to want to work through my fears, to test my limits, to give myself the chance to practise in a way that suited me, letting go of comparing myself of others, and voila! A perfect headstand… There are still so many poses in yoga that I feel are so impossible to reach, and yet now I feel if I keep working in my practise, and keep believing in myself, I will one day be able to perform them, just like I did with my headstand.
And this lesson applies to everything in life. You truly can achieve anything you set your mind to. No matter how crazy, or impossible it may seem right now, dare to dream big and start your journey to get you there. You will be amazed by your capacity to achieve things you never thought possible!
Let me give you a tip that I use for myself; if you are feeling frustrated or disillusioned that you are not able to do or achieve something in your life, just start by switching the words “I CAN’T” for “I CAN’T YET”. Just because you are not able to do something right now, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to do it in the future. Because chances are, that if you are committed to giving it a go, to start it, to think about the small steps that will allow you to get on your way, then you will get there.
So think about your can’t’s, and decide which ones are worth pursuing. Success is within the reach of us all, go and get it!
Isabel Valle is a certified Executive and Leadership Coach. She is also a mentor and the Founder of Global Room in Brunei. Isabel specialises in leadership development and building organisational culture. Isabel has held senior positions within the hospitality industry in countries around the world. More information available on