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Working with rather than against yourself

When I first started practicing yoga, thought that using blocks was a sign that I wasn’t very good at it. Instead, I pushed my body and risked going into injury because I was focusing on what other people’s perceptions of me would be. Now I know that the blocks are there to support me and they actually allow me to move deeper into poses than before, just in a safe and controlled way. To get the most benefit from the blocks, I had to learn to tune out what I imagined other people would think and tune in to what was right for me in that moment (something that is often in flux). Once I started acknowledging what was right for me, I could begin to cultivate an attitude of self-compassion towards my own needs rather spending a lot of energy fighting against them.

This attitude of self-acceptance and self-compassion is something I have tried to take with me into other areas of my life. Last week, this led me to invest in some ear plugs to help me manage some of my sound sensitivity. While I have never been a fan of particularly loud places, it is only recently that I have realised how much they really do impact on me. I’m aware, that before I began to explore and accept my neurodivergent identity, I would have put my difficulty down to there being something wrong with me because I thought everyone else was managing. Of course, what I know now is that my experience of loud noises is different from some people and like other and that’s ok. The important thing is that now I have acknowledged and accepted how it is for me, I can do something about it!

I have been really struck by how the change in attitude to something I found challenging has allowed me to not only find the right support, but also to be more open about it. In the past it is likely that I would have had feelings of embarrassment at ‘not being able to cope’, fuelled by a need to appear ‘like everyone else’. But now I can recognise that they are simply a tool that can help me to access spaces and events without pushing myself towards sensory overload and potential meltdown. I feel the same way about them as a well place yoga block, just tools to help me work with my needs rather than against them.

How do you work with your needs?

Close up of earplugs on white table. Text reads How do you work with your needs?

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