Stretch to Higher Achievement

© Rosie Bank 2013

I count it among the greatest treasures in my life that I was trained professionally as a yoga teacher, that I traveled the world to work with a variety of teachers, and that I was able to teach for well over thirty-five years. Although I am retired from teaching, I am still devoted to my practice.

Trained yoga practitioners know to go into the stretch. We realize that it will often feel intense, occasionally uncomfortable, definitely challenging, and almost always will produce a tremendous amount of energy. It is this deliberate knowing that if we lengthen and open various segments of our bodies, we will enjoy the aftermath even if the process itself is difficult. Quite often we enjoy the intensity itself because we know that our bodies are opening. Trained practitioners know to explore our limits to our full capacity and to avoid injury or putting our bodies at risk.

How is yoga analogous to our achieving personal and professional goals?  Whether they are personal – like finding a life partner; health-related – like losing weight; financial – like saving a specific amount of money;  or professional – like writing a book or rising in rank in your organization, the mechanisms are the same.

RosieHigh achievers, like accomplished practitioners of yoga, live for the stretch. We love the feeling of opening past the current level; we have taught ourselves that the sweetest berries in life are just beyond our reach. So we extend ourselves. It is a habit and it is formed each time we think we can’t go further. We do not like the feeling of staying stuck because we want the rewards that live outside of our comfort zone.

Maybe you are a medium achiever, and don’t count yourself among the super stars. Still, you can benefit from this mindset of extending yourself in order to accomplish what it is you said you want. In fact, it is precisely when you come up against your limitations that you can learn, with practice, to stretch and open to what lies past that edge. This is the most interesting place in your personal development –right up against that temporary constraint. It is where your greatest achievements and most satisfying accomplishments lie.

There is a style of yoga called restorative. These are gentle, non-demanding poses that are essentially about savoring deep relaxation in restful postures. There is a place and time for these poses, just as there is a place and time for you to rest interspersed with your bursts of deliberate stretching. Resting is important – in yoga, business, and life – so that we don’t get burned out or put ourselves at risk.

Whether you decide to take a yoga class or not, I encourage you to explore what is possible, knowing that those stuck spots are talking to you, inviting you to explore what awaits you on the other side of them. Get hooked on stretching yourself. Make it a habit. Create an extraordinary life on purpose.

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