Why Yoga Good to Give Up

We’re told to keep striving towards our goals and always persevere – but sometimes it’s better tothrow in the towel, says.

Charlotte Haigh-MacNeil

My epiphany happened in a yoga class one day two years ago. With a huge workload and a rapidly-approaching wedding, I was super-stressed and just recovering from a nasty two-day migraine. I was feeling tender and a little tearful. A calming, grounding class was exactly what I needed, I thought, settling onto my mat. Then a teacher I didn’t recognise strode in and, sounding like Debbie Allen in the opening credits of Fame, announced that if we wanted results, we had to work for them. We had to sweat. ‘This is a tough, dynamic class,’ she said, hands on hips. ‘If you’re after gentle and relaxing, leave now, because this ain’t the class for you.’ My heart sank – gentle and relaxing was exactly what I was after, and what I felt my body needed. Still, I thought I’d better stick it out, so I began the breathing exercises (even these were fast and ferocious). But then I had a little mental rebellion. I’m a grown-up, I told myself. I don’t have to stay here if I don’t want to. I stood up, swiftly rolled my mat, turned on my heels and walked out.

Why Yoga Good to Give Up Photo Gallery

Roll with it

Leeing a yoga class may not seem a big deal, but it was a small triumph for me, because normally I plug away at something, even if I know instinctively it’s not right for me. I’m not alone in this. It’s easy to feel as though you’ve somehow failed if you don’t keep going with something you’ve started this is a message that tends to be ground into us by parents and teachers in childhood. And, of course, there’s often real value in committing to something and not giving up too easily, even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. After all, whether it’s a course you’ve signed up for, or a big move to a new part of the country, things might improve, or at least form a stepping stone to get you to where you want to be in life. Even if that doesn’t happen, you’ll probably learn a lot. But equally, quitting something that isn’t working for you can be a powerful statement and help you shape your life.

Just drop it

Ask yourself these questions if you’re considering giving something up – whether that’s a job, a course, a relationship or your living situation.

What’s the value in sticking with it?

Are you hoping it’ll get better, or do you feel there’s something to be learnt from the experience, even if you’re not enjoying it? If this is the case, give yourself a deadline – if you can’t see what you’re gaining by that point, it could be time to quit.

Am I persevering to keep others happy?

Women, in particular, are often socialised to please others, and you may be determined to stick at something because you feel you’ll be letting people down if you drop it That’s not a good reason to keep at it – anyone who cares about you will be pleased you’re doing what’s best for you.

Is there an end result that will make it

worthwhile? If you’re training for a qualification that will enable you to switch to a more fulfilling career, often it’s worth plugging away, even if the training is dull or difficult at times. That said, it’s worth asking yourself whether the journey is telling you something about the destination – is this really the right direction for you?

Is there a more satisfying way I could be living my life?

This is one of the really big questions. Time is precious and the years really do speed by, so it makes little sense to persevere with something that you feel fundamentally isn’t working for you. Make a list of all your other options, weigh them up and try to acknowledge your gut feeling.


If you think it’s time for a different job, you need to read GettingTheJobYou Wantby Denise Taylor (Icon Books, £6.99 print and ebook). Taylor’s a career psychologist and offers simple, effective steps for finding the right job. One tip is to be able to sum up yourself and what you’re looking for in 30 seconds. Explain what you do (‘I’m an experienced sales manager’), what you’re good at (‘I enjoy problem solving’). A concise ‘pitch’ like this will help you to make the most of any job opportunities – such as meeting a potential employer at an event.

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