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That Doesn’t Resonate With Me

by Maria Villella

Our guest blogger, Marie Villella, has been a devoted practitioner and instructor of Ashtanga Yoga for over a decade. In her pursuit of furthering her own practice and training Maria has studied in India under the instruction of the late Patthaboi Jois and also received her instructor certification from Downward Dog Yoga Center in Toronto, Canada. 

In her daily classes Maria is known for her mindful approach to the self-practice of yoga. She empowers students to find their own practice while giving them the support and feedback necessary for the cultivation of internal and external alignment. 

I was taking an evening walk in Santa Monica and I passed by a couple deep in a conversation. It seemed to be important by the expressions on their faces, but I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop, so I didn’t catch what they were talking about. Just as I passed by them, I heard the woman say, in a fairly strong tone, “that doesn’t resonate with me.”

At that point, the conversation stopped.

Part of my job as a yoga teacher is to pick up on resistance in my students. Resistance is a fancy way of saying fear. I’m no stranger to fear and for a long time I didn’t think I had any; instead, I thought I was smart, or worse yet, I believed it was my intuition telling me something was right or wrong for me. It has taken me years of consistent yoga practice, years of studying Oriental medicine, and years of working with my teacher George Falcon to start to recognize the different between my intellect, subconscious, and intuition.

I see the faces of my yoga students and when I adjust them physically in asanas I can get a pretty good sense of whether they are open to receive an adjustment or, if for whatever reason, they are not. I always respect where they are at because I would never impose an agenda. All I can do is try to empower those I’m assisting to make the best choice they can from the most honest place they can find at the time.

Sometimes their process is uncomfortable. Breaking patterns is challenging because it requires waking up and developing awareness. It also requires commitment to stick with the process even when it’s uncomfortable. When we make a choice to evolve and grow, it means that we have to let go of everything we identify with. That moment is when resistance will usually come in to slow down the process. I’ll quote my husband, “People want to become enlightened and they want to take their egos with them.” We want to say, “I became enlightened and I’m special because of it.”

Many times, things won’t feel right when we’re on our path, and they certainly will not always make sense to the intellect. If you are accustomed to being a certain way in the world and responding to situations in a certain way, then of course changing those behaviors is going to feel quite wrong. Next time before we respond with “that doesn’t resonate with me” or a strong emotion, we can take a step back and focus on the breath until the emotion which is causing the resistance fades. This will help break the pattern that is keeping us from responding from a more truthful place. The key is to notice emotions as they come up and not validate them with an explanation for why we have those emotions, an explanation that comes from the intellect.

It’s important to start listening to your inner dialogue and check in with whose voice is filling it. You are not the story, the rules, the directions, the judgments, the emotions… Resistance comes because we are attached to those things. We have no evidence to prove that they’re truth; yet, we hold on to them as if they were. My teacher George sometimes asks me, “Why’d you buy the lie”? My only answer is ignorance; we build stories around beliefs not truths. If you’re after something new, then it’s time to start stripping away the layers of identity that are not you. Then, from a very different place, you will know exactly what to do—even if it feels foreign.

Follow her: @maria_villela

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