The Obstacle is the Path

There is a Zen proverb I love that says “the obstacle is the path.” When I was in my teacher training with Baron Baptiste, he would often say, “That which blocks your path is your path,” which essentially means the same thing. This is a worthy concept to consider, and I’ve been reminding my students, and myself, of it quite often.

In yoga class and in life, we encounter many obstacles. On our path to happiness, or losing ten pounds, or a more peaceful relationship with our family – whatever we are seeking – we all encounter blocks along the way. We keep getting smacked in the head with our resistance to change over and over again. When faced with a choice to grow or to take the path of least resistance, don’t we all want life to just be easy? It is easier to sit on the couch and eat potato chips than it is to show up for yoga class. It is easier to get angry and fall into the same patterns  when a family member pushes our buttons, than to pause, take a breath, and not react. The force of our ego can be so strong and offer up any resistance it knows how. Whatever obstacles we encounter – whatever holds us back from what we want – these are our biggest opportunities for growth. In these moments we have a choice. Take the easier road and stay stagnant? Or, confront the obstacle, attack it, and truly go for what we want in life? Stay in bed or get up and go to yoga. Eat that cookie or exercise your will power. Avoid a confrontation with a loved one or speak your truth. The obstacle is the path. Each time we make the choice that is in our highest good, we move further along the path to where we want to go. Even when it is not easy, even when it is not fun. Our higher selves are then in control of our minds, not the other way around.



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About Missy Balsam

Missy Balsam is a full-time yoga instructor living in Naples, FL. Missy graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Psychology, then worked as a sales and marketing executive for many years before leaving the corporate world behind to follow her heart. Missy completed her 200 hour certification with Baron Baptiste, and since 2007 has found her true path sharing her love of yoga with others. Missy’s teaching style is one of empowerment, inspiration, and joy, encouraging students of all levels to keep growing and evolving, discovering the happiness that is already inside of all of us. And...even when it’s challenging, to just have fun and not take it all so seriously!

In addition to teaching group and private yoga classes, Missy leads kirtan concerts with her band Wabi Sabi. Kirtan is call and response devotional yoga music and chanting, and is another form of yoga practice called Bhakti. She is passionate about sharing kirtan which, like yoga, has created boundless joy in her life. For more about Missy, visit her website, and her facebook page Missy Balsam Yoga.