What Are We Resisting?

by Nicole Doherty, Certified Yoga Teacher

Resistance. As yoga teachers we talk a lot about this subject in class. Letting go of your resistance. Surrendering to your practice. Relinquishing the mind. The dictionary defines resistance as “the opposition offered by one thing to another.” What is it that we are opposing and what can we gain as a result of our practice?

  1. Stress vs. Calm: The amount of stress that we undergo as a culture is killing us. Literally. So getting on the mat offers a great opportunity to release this bound up energy and move it through the system. In most yoga classes we give you a decent cool down and a Savasana that offers the nervous system a much-needed break. Your body moves into the parasympathetic system of restoration and relaxation, when your body is literally being healed.
  2. Mental Chaos vs. Meditation: In our society we are bombarded with stimulus that pulls us in every direction. Between cars, traffic, computers, cell phones, etc. our brain is on overload. Time in a yoga class is a technology holiday and a chance to shut off. There is no way to get a hold of you, cell phones off. The brain can take rest and move into meditation.
  3. Unconscious vs. Conscious Thoughts: This is one of my personal favorites and why yoga became my life path. When we are running around all day, we’re not really listening. We are in a mode of reactivity and mostly unconscious behavior. But on the mat, once we slow down a bit, we get the gift of observation. We start to feel the mind-body-soul connection. We hear the little voices in our heads and we can observe our thoughts. Our thoughts become our actions, so we start to understand the importance of becoming conscious of them.

We tend to be in a state of resistance and opposition often. Resistance is a state of being. Contrast is what offers us choice and helps us to form our preferences. So when you enter into resistance and you are asked to surrender begin to observe what you are holding onto, attaching to and preventing yourself from experiencing that could bring you more happiness and sustained joy.

Feel free to comment on this article below and let me know what it is that you feel you resist and what the opposite state of being has brought into your life.


  • Gracefully put yourself first
  • Practice radical self love
  • Free your authentic voice
  • Clarify your vision
  • Create inspired actions 

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