It's MLK weekend, and if there's one lesson Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us, it's to lead with love. Be patient and kind, to ourselves and others. Of course, that's easier said than done in this fast-paced world of seemingly endless demands and finite hours. That's why we love yoga. It promotes one of the hardest and most noble characteristics to come by: patience.
To understand why yoga promotes patience, it's helpful to think about where impatience comes from. At its essence, impatience is having an end in mind, an expectation of how long it should take to reach that end, and an unwillingness to wait any longer to realize it. At its core, impatience is built on judgement. On "shoulds." It should only take 10min to get to work. I should have heard from her by now. He should have done this already.
Should is a dangerous word. Should is a stressful word! When our expectations aren't met, we can become impatient. Frustration grows, our heart rate elevates, our blood pressure rises. All of a sudden, our sympathetic nervous system - our fight or flight response - is in full effect.
But yoga teaches us to suspend judgement and instead, practice patience. We sit on our mats and repeat deep, rhythmic breathing. We notice our bodies without judgement, and sit for extended periods of time as we are. Regular yoga practice makes us masters at calming ourselves under stress, at quelling "fight or flight" responses and at dampening the production of stress related hormones. It better equips us to handle those frustrating moments when things don't go as planned.
Regular practice of yoga is regular practice of patience. With that in mind this holiday weekend, go forth and be patient!