Out Of Reach

How frustrated and demoralised my client sounded as we sat in Upavista Konasana, (seated wide-legged posture) and I encouraged the room to connect to the sensation of the chest dropping towards the floor. ‘But my chest will never reach the floor,’ she said. ‘This posture lacks any motivation for me because I know that I will never get much lower than I already am. I just don’t think my body is designed to do that!’ Honest words, and I do encourage my clients to be open about how they feel when in the postures. However, whilst I wouldn’t want to curtail anyone’s capabilities, we should be realistic that for some of us, certain postures might always seem ‘out of reach’. So, what is the point in practising them? It is clearly important to maintain whatever degree of flexibility or strength we have at our disposal, but I am also keenly interested in the emotional reaction that the postures provoke. It is far more likely that this reaction will give us an insight into how we approach our day-to-day life and respond to the many challenges life throws our way. We all can relate to identifying another’s achievements and both admiring and celebrating them. At the same time, we can establish (or reconnect to) a demonstrative internal narrative that tells us that we will never achieve anything like that, and we are not worthy of such success. You might ask yourself: When will I ever reach my full potential?

Perhaps (like me) you indulge in big dreams. We set ourselves magnificent goals, only to get part of the way along and decide that it is too much for us and out of our reach. Perhaps some goals that we set ourselves are unattainable, whether at this moment or simply because they are not the right goals for us to choose. This goes against the grain of many self-help books that encourage you to believe that you can do anything you want to. I think (and fear) that they may be promoting self-delusion which is not helpful at all. Remember, one thing always holds true. Whatever the destination is, when you get there, unless you have been before, it will always look differently to how you have imagined it, and sometimes to how you remembered it! Perhaps then we should consider that, in a way, all goals don’t exist until they do and when they do they are already changed. I encourage everyone to pursue their goals in the realm of reality. Just remember that, in the same way that some postures just don’t work out for you, some paths in life simply won’t be appropriate for your nature.  As I said to my client: ‘I can guarantee that whether or not you are able to get your chest on the floor, it won’t change your life or make you a better person.’