What You Think You Need—And More

After I returned to my yoga practice after a longer-than-usual break last year,  the teacher said something that kept sticking in my mind: “Get more props than you think you need.”

In a yoga class, props are objects like blocks and straps and blankets that help you bridge the distance between, let’s say, your hands and the floor in a posture like a standing forward bend. Props are important for a few reasons. Among them: every body is shaped differently; props allow you to explore possibilities in a pose with less risk of injury; and you are able to practice longer and deeper if you’re not exhausting your energy all at once pursuing some “ideal.”

I’ve been practicing yoga for a long time, and as my body ages I confess to having some difficulty setting my ego aside and accepting what my body can actually do on any given day.  So “more props than you need” has become an interesting metaphor for me about allowing something to be easier, more possible, than it might be without extra support. 

How might this look off the mat? And how might it relate to aligning how I spend my time with what I say I value? As I reflect on the difference between activities I consistently show up for and those I don’t, four things come to mind.

  • Props. Whether it’s hosting a meeting, cooking a healthy meal, making a tweak to my web site, or taking a two-mile walk—I can set up for success by gathering the physical stuff I need as I begin.
  • Peers. I’m inspired by the participation and the expectations of others I know and admire—whether in person or in my social media network. 
  • Practices. I can create simple structures, rituals, and reminders that help turn an aspiration into an everyday habit.
  • Praise. I notice that I’m more likely to do something again if someone notices and appreciates my effort.

Could these four things make an activity or a goal more possible for you? If yes, here’s my invitation. Take a look at the picture I’ve drawn below. Jot some notes. Try some things. Make it your own. Allow yourself to gather more around you than you think you might need.

Finally—don’t overlook the value of a great teacher or mentor or coach. A few well-placed words can inspire your everyday efforts, and allow you to stretch beyond what you thought was possible.

Props in my life
© 2017 Michelle Hynes

Michelle is an Integral Coach and consultant based in Portland, OR. Lots more on her website.