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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Barth

What You Resist, Persists

"What you resist, persists" is a phrase I've heard, and said, over and over again in yoga classes. This phrase, by Carl Jung, has a lot of truth to it. I had a vague understanding of it's meaning at first; however, I have a new found appreciation for this expression. You will never truly understand it until you go through it on your own.There was no amount of sweating, Yoga, Meditation, or time spent in nature that would reduce or remove my stress and anxiety. The higher my stress levels rose the angrier and more reactive I became. The littlest things got under my skin: music bothered me; the dog’s constant need for affection irritated me; long conversations annoyed me; and not having my own space to deal with things infuriated me. My life seemed full of chaos, and avoiding Double Pigeon Pose only made it worse. Every time the Hip Openers came up in my practice I purposely left out Agnistambhasana. In one of my classes I made the comment that we were going to avoid this pose, and I added that it was a pose I needed to do in my own practice.

What was it that pushed me over the edge and forced me into Double Pigeon Pose on my mat? I’m sad to say that it was my computer breaking down on me; my instant reaction was out of anger and wanting to throw my laptop in the garbage, when all it needed was to be repaired. It was this reaction that stopped me in my own tracks; I thought to myself, “This isn’t like me.” I knew it was time to unroll my mat and practice Double Pigeon Pose. I couldn’t resist this pose for another second.

With my right leg stacked over my left, I exhaled and folded forward. I made sure to spend five minutes per side, letting the pose work its magic. At first I felt frustrated, the anger and stress were bubbling to the surface; I felt the heat from my belly work its way up into my cheeks. I sat with these feelings that were coming up; I wanted to run from the pose in this moment, but some part of me held my physical body in Double Pigeon, forcing me to work through the emotions and feelings that were coming up. The frustration, anger, stress, and feelings of wanting to escape the pose suddenly melted away. I noticed that I was feeling lighter and more open; however, I knew that the work was just beginning in Double Pigeon Pose, and I wouldn’t be avoiding this pose in my own practice as well as the classes I teach.

By resisting Double Pigeon Pose, I allowed my stress levels to rise to a point where it created anxiety and anger. By surrendering and settling into this pose, I helped release some of the stress, anxiety, and anger I had been experiencing in my life. It is true what they say: what you resist, persists.

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