passion, resistance, and kundalini yoga

I’m most motivated to write a blog post immediately after I’ve published one. I feel like I’ve just conquered a beast, and I’m ready to take on another.

That beast is Resistance.

There’s a release when I hit ‘publish’. Something inside me has broken free, creating space for new ideas and inspirations. I feel almost giddy and l promise myself I’ll write more often. But as days go on, I lose my mojo. And after about two weeks, I’ll find any excuse to avoid sitting down to write.

Turns out my experience is not unique. I’m halfway through Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, in which he lays out the numerous forms of resistance artists encounter in carrying out their sacred work. This book is rocking my world. Pressfield writes that we often meet the strongest resistance in creating that which is most meaningful and valuable to us – the work that comes from our heart and soul.

I’ve written about the pressure of passion before. Those of us who feel our passion eludes us can be so preoccupied with ‘finding it’ that it becomes a source of stress. We conclude that we must not have one, or that we’re somehow missing it. Either way, something feels wrong.

But this could be resistance in clever disguise.

Flaming Star, by my beautiful friend & artist Christyn Hall. She's painting 33 paintings in 30 days this month! See more of her gorgeous sacred art at http://christynmhall.com.

Flaming Star, by my beautiful friend & artist Christyn M. Hall. She’s painting 33 paintings in 30 days this month! Click on the image above or visit christynmhall.com to see more of her gorgeous sacred art.

The force of resistance is real, insidious, and relentless. Resistance discourages us from putting our barest selves out there, because we are then subject to potential humiliation, rejection, and failure. Resistance abhors change, because change puts us out of our comfort zone and compels us to be vulnerable. Resistance is mired in fear.

There are those who seem to unequivocally know what their sacred work is. They don’t have to search for their passion; it pulses in their bones. I used to think that they were ‘lucky’ to have their gifts flow through them so effortlessly. I envied that. I’m now seeing that they too encounter self-doubt and resistance. But they still show up to do their work.

To me, resistance is synonymous with ego. Resistance will stop at nothing to prevent us from doing what makes us feel truly self-expressed and in our power. Resistance is slippery and must be watched like a hawk. It knows all our weak spots and will even spend time contemplating the problem of resistance itself, to distract us from pursuing anything it perceives as threatening!

In my own life, I’m feeling it in the form of second-guessing my decision to begin my Kundalini Yoga teacher training. For the last ten years, I’ve seen myself becoming a yoga teacher…’someday’. Well, that day is here; the training starts next month, I’ve booked the days off work, and my application is completed.

And I’m questioning all of it.

Pressfield writes that what we most resist doing, we absolutely must do. The bigger the stakes, the bigger the payoff. This is an important message for me now. Having recently changed cities, I’m on new ground to show up in new ways. I am sensing the necessity to take more risks, to trust my inner knowing (and speak it), and do what I need to do because the time is ripe to do it.

Collectively, something big is in the air. We could look at the world today and become completely cynical and hopeless. No one would blame us. Or we could take advantage of a new energy that is growing all around us – an energy we ourselves have created in response to our collective pain and suffering. There are so many of us desiring a completely different way of being. Maybe our prayers have been heard, and we can live the lives we couldn’t before.

This new way requires trusting in the unknown and letting go of who we thought we were. And, of course, kicking resistance in the ass.

42 thoughts on “passion, resistance, and kundalini yoga

  1. Beautiful Aleya! This post is really resonating for me right now in regards my music.I know writing music and singing is my purpose here and while I have always done it, I have also shied away from trying to get it heard by people. Over my hiatus, I made the decision to not allow anything- including the healing work and yoga teaching- take over anymore. I still feel that resistance but I am working towards my musical goals anyway. I have written out your sentence “Resistance is slippery and must be watched like a hawk” and stuck it on my wall above my work station, I know it will be helpful in the months to come! Good luck with your YTT, I am sure it will be an incredible experience!x

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    • That’s awesome that your hiatus brought you the realization that music is your priority. I think that’s often half the battle – we don’t know what’s really important to us, so we pursue many things and our power is all dispersed. And then, throw in the resistance factor to our true calling – whew! I love that you have that line above your workstation. 😀 I look forward to following your journey…sounds like there’s a lot of clarity and focus, and also self-love as you explore your dreams. Thank you for your comments, they definitely brightened up my morning here. xo Aleya

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    • Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I’m glad the posts are flowing for you! 🙂 It’s helped for me to know that resistance may never go away, but doesn’t mean it has to have power over us. Being aware of it can help us be more determined than ever to move through it. Sat Nam! Aleya

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  2. I really enjoyed reading that, it is very true for me too. I put off my art and put of my art and the resistance actually makes me ill Spiritually. So thank you for this 🙂 I know what I must do!

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  3. hmmm that got me thinking about my own lack of passion for basically ANYTHING of late. I haven’t thought about ‘resistance’ in this respect. But it does make sense. In psychotherapy, when a client goes into ‘resistance’ to whatever the topic is, he or she is dealing with, it is often expressed / covered up by sudden boredom/tiredness/loss of focus (and this is often also, if not even more so, experienced by the therapist at the moment of mentioning that topic by the client). So, all in all, it makes complete sense to me that lack of passion which causes a ‘dullness’ of sorts, may be a sign of resistance. I really have to explore that a bit more.
    On the other hand, I have noticed a feeling like most things (in a good AND bad way) have been exciting -perhaps too exciting? – have become ‘irrelevant’.
    I am not sure if I would go along with Pressfield’s recommendation of needing to ‘push through’…but definitely examining what is at work. After all, there are many of us who keep ‘pushing themselves’ all the time as a result of competetiveness, having to prove themselves or whatever else that are also driven by the ego. It’s questionable if we always MUST overcome our resistance… sometimes it may indicate the end of THIS road and it is time to look for another one. So, after considering this and that, I would say: discernment is probably what’s needed but it’s definitely good to keep in mind that ‘lack of passion’ may be resistance in disguise.
    Thanks for letting me ‘think aloud’ 🙂 😉

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    • Wow, very interesting to see how resistance plays out in psychotherapy (and that the therapist is also affected). I think there is so much consciousness shifting right now that everything’s being re-jigged. In many ways I feel more detached from things, and truly it’s a welcome relief. But is that detachment or resistance/lack of passion? We can only tune in within to find out.

      A couple of others have commented here on the Pressfield’s view of pushing through resistance. Hm I’m thinking i may not have worded it in the best way because his book really is so inspiring and it didn’t come across that way to me. 🙂 I agree that it is about discernment and listening to our own truth regardless of other people’s views about it. Sometimes it really is time to let go instead of pushing ourselves to the point of burnout or sickness.

      Thanks so much for thinking aloud, I love it! ❤ Aleya

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  4. Pingback: passion, resistance, and kundalini yoga | the recovering authentic

  5. This book is very beloved in our household. Thank you for the reminder that resistance is part of the game–lately I’ve been good at succumbing to it- and getting pulled into household chores or other things that all of a sudden have to happen over my work. Must remember it is just resistance.

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  6. Very well-expressed and thought provoking post. In reading Linda’s comment, I wanted to add that I too often intuit resistance as my instincts steering me away from something that isn’t meant for me or wouldn’t be good for me. Love your writing and your streams of consciousness.

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    • I agree with you and Linda about intuition. Our own guidance system knows what’s best for us and we need to listen to that above all else. It gets tricky for me when making decisions, esp big ones – resistance will mask as intuition, and then I feel pulled in two directions. Thank you for your kind words, they are very much appreciated. ❤ Aleya

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  7. Kicking resistance in the ass! I am so with you Aleya, and truly, your post is in perfect timing :). I typically grapple with resistance anytime I’m unsure of myself and my abilities. It is so predictable that I recognise it and even expect it. Specifically, today and this week, I have an essay to write that I don’t feel confident writing. I will sit down tomorrow and plan that essay and after that I will be okay. But until then resistance and I are uncomfortable bedfellows!

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    • Hi Sara! I love it when posts are in perfect timing. 🙂 Sounds like you have a lot going on this week and yup, I’m sure resistance is a part of it! That’s great that you’re aware of it. I think knowing resistance exists is half the battle. Just think of all the fun you’ll have next week…enjoy the well-deserved fun and rest. Wishing you all the best with your essay! Aleya

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    • Many people are feeling the personal resistance/ego quite strongly. I think it ultimately means that something very grand awaits us, individually and collectively. But breaking down the doors to get there isn’t always pleasant. Thanks Lew, Aleya

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  8. This is a wonderful post. And so timely!
    I feel that many are being pushed to step out of their comfort zone now, to face their fear, step out, become visible, take risks. And there is always fear trying to hold us back. Thanks for this reminder that we must not let the fear stop us.
    Good to hear that your yoga class is starting now. I wish you much success on this journey.
    Karin

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    • Thank you Karin. ‘Becoming visible’ is a great way to put it. Many of us have been doing our own inner work for some time, and the doors are open to share what we’ve learned with others. I’m inspired by your stepping out of your comfort zone to make videos. This is on my list too…someday! But first, yoga 😉 Aleya

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  9. Hey Aleya,

    ‘And I’m questioning all of it.’….’And, of course, kicking resistance in the ass’….then kick some ass and surrender to your dream! 😀 lol

    ~ The Road Not Taken ~ By ~ Robert Frost

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

    And sorry I could not travel both

    And be one traveller, long I stood

    And looked down one as far as I could

    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

    ~

    Then took the other, as just as fair,

    And having perhaps the better claim,

    Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

    Though as for that the passing there

    Had worn them really about the same,

    ~

    And both that morning equally lay

    In leaves no step had trodden black.

    Oh, I kept the first for another day!

    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

    I doubted if I should ever come back.

    ~

    I shall be telling this with a sigh

    Somewhere ages and ages hence:

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

    I took the one less travelled by,

    And that has made all the difference.

    Good Luck, best wishes and ‘bon voyage!’ 😀

    Namaste

    DN – 19/09/2015

    P.S: How is the little corner of Eden that is your Island paradise?

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    • Hah- yup, you got me there Dewin..time for some good old-fashioned ass kickin’! 🙂 Thank you for including Robert Frost’s poem. ‘Someday’ is safe, and will always exist as an option. But that’s where it gets tricky…10/20/30 years down the line, ‘someday’ still hasn’t happened. OH, resistance and change! I’m feeling the discomfort! Lol. Namaste, Aleya

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  10. I always enjoy your writing Aleya and know so many others feel he same way. Perhaps knowing you have an appreciative readership may help. This book sounds intriguing, It is a play on The Art of War ( which I have not read.) I wonder why the author says what we resist the most, we must absolutely do. Sometimes resistance is steeped in fear, but sometimes it is our intuition telling us to move in another direction.

    Best of luck in your training. I admire how you make things happen and seem to flow so well in change, despite any self-doubts you may have.

    Hugs, Linda

    PS Please join my blogging challenge 🙂

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    • Hi Linda! Thanks for pointing that out – that sometimes our intuition is telling us something’s not right for us and we must follow that above all else. Absolutely that’s true. Pressfield does say that we must do what we most resist – but he meant it in the context of knowing when it’s resistance masking as something other than what it is. Intuition and gut feelings trump!

      That’s where I personally find resistance slippery actually…is it resistance or intuition? Hmmm; meditation time. Pressfield’s book is so full of gems; normally I would’ve picked out a quote or two, but there were too many too choose from! Thank you for the reminder about the blogging challenge! Ok let me see what I can do. Much love, Aleya

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