I was a wimp at my first yoga class. Literally, a shaking jelly fish. Side angle pose (vasistasana) made my body-building triceps and biceps jiggle like Jell-O. And svasana? Holy Moly, how long is she going to make us lie here? I have supper to eat, bills to pay, classes to get ready for. Sheesh……what a wuss.
Since 1998, boy, have I come a long way in understanding just HOW far outside of my comfort zone yoga pushes us. Yoga means union. Union of body, heart and soul. How tough of a concept is that? It wasn’t until I took out the ‘I’m so strong, how could I be so weak in yoga?’ mentality, and began to soften in poses, did I make the connection. Oh, so if I stop trying so hard, contracting my muscles in a way that leaves my bones in a death grip, and soften the muscles around my eye sockets, and stop clenching my teeth, something beautiful makes its way into my mind. The death grip there softens. As does the one around my heart. They become loving caresses, containers of a deeper arising awareness. What a transformation! As Mastin Kipp said in The Daily Love, yoga starts when the pose gets tough. For me, and I would think for many of you, that meant softening, opening, expanding, revealing.
I began to see others differently. Hmmmmm, well, considering I felt judgmental most of my life, yoga showed me I really wasn’t. That was just a part of me that was rearing its ugly head to protect me from being too open or vulnerable, or available for true love. When I remembered to use my outer body as a boundary of expression for my heart to fill, yoga made sense. Ah, that’s expanding to the edge. That’s holding steady in tough times. That’s living my authentic truth, speaking with a voice that knows. It’s softening with compassion and clarity so that the sadness or strangeness of life didn’t toss me off center as quickly – or at all.
The life moments I found most challenging, rough and tumble, topsy turvy, were simply transitions to a more lovely sense of being, satisfaction in self and Self, allowing me to leave behind the rocky ways and ease into my true nature of genuine care.
How can you, today, expand into the pose in the challenging conversation you need to have? How deep can you send your taproot of contentment as you face the challenges today reveals? How soft do you need to be in your yoga pose to feel the strength bubble up like effervescent joy?
For a moment, step aside from your inner critic, condemner, and scorner and let your true inner beauty and goodness have a run for the brass ring. Hold that pose now as long as you can.
If being present in a class helps you push out of your comfort zone, join me Tuesdays 9:30am at Samadhi Integral Yoga Center. We go the distance!