I am a big sports fan. I especially enjoy professional basketball. I had the opportunity recently to go to a Warriors game and watch their amazing talent, focus and team chemistry. The crowd went bananas at every Warrior basket made and the team responded with smiles to the crowd, pumped fists in the air and more baskets. It was a blast. 

I gain a lot of insight from watching pro sports and find instructive parallels to everyday life. This is a particularly special season for the Golden State Warriors. For the first time in 13 years, the Warriors are in the playoffs. In the life of basketball, that is a very long time. You can imagine the amount of pressure they have had to endure, each year making changes in coaching, players, and strategy which are the more controllable components of the game. The bigger challenges are overcoming those uncontrollable elements like injuries,which can plague any athlete and the Warriors have been hit especially hard in this regard. Only in the last two months has every team member been healthy and playing together at full strength. Thirteen years of rebuilding is finally beginning to pay off. 

Aren’t many of us in the yoga process rebuilding too? Trying to overcome adversity, fighting off that suspicion that we will never again have a healthy pain-free back? However, yoga is just like sports; the idea is to stay the course, take the steps needed to perfect our game. We have to be patient with the process.  In fact, we might feel worse before we feel better. Sometimes, as soon as we feel progress with one element of our practice, another area falls apart. It’s great to find some freedom in those tight hips, but now you’ve lost your balance. Yikes! 

In time, (in your own time), with focus and discipline, the pieces do come together; your lower back starts to open up, your abdominal strength is improving your balance, your breath feels more natural, your mind is more at ease. Now, you are operating on all cylinders and things start to really click. Like basketball players on the court, you are in a flow and feel your own team chemistry. Your body is balanced, your mind is balanced and your game is unstoppable. Perhaps you can even hear the crowd cheering you on!

Keep this in mind as you rebuild.  Have faith and learn how to manage (and even LOVE) this transitional time. Understand that discomfort (but not pain), will in the long run, get you where you want to go.  As a friend so eloquently stated, the first thing to do when confronted with a rough situation is to be grateful. Whoa! When she mentioned this I felt instantly relieved.  I felt proud and relaxed. Yes, how grateful I am to even have the desire to want to be better than I am today: how grateful I am to have come this far!  The Golden State Warriors, winning their first playoff berth in 13 years, have a real opportunity to go even further but, when asked to comment, said simply, “we are just grateful to be where we are right now.” Gratitude:  part of the winning formula for rebuilding.