If you’ve been to my class you’ve heard it before: Follow what feels good, what gets you to breathe. It’s more important than it sounds. It’s learning to listen to your body and understanding what it really needs and what supports it.
In the first few years I practiced yoga I would consistently start moving my mat and think “this feels good”. And then I’d go to work and think “this feels horrible”. In fact, at that point in my life what I was really thinking was “I’d rather be hit by a bus than go to work”. Then I’d land in savasana and think, “I feel love and I feel supported and nurtured”. And at that time I’d go home and think “meh” or be met with questions from friends as to why I was spending so much time on yoga (me).
It took me at least a year or so to figure out how to get my legs above my head for a “handstand” and another year to coordinate some semblance of side crow. In finding flight, even if some days meant landing on my face or my ass, I could feel there was so much more I was capable of. The seemingly impossible felt possible. So when my old, and last!, boss told me I couldn’t teach yoga and practice law on my own, I already knew it was possible and I quit that job right then and there.
When I decided on respecting myself and my ex enough to get divorced 9 years ago I was drawn to the more powerful poses like warrior II that invited and allowed me brief moments to embody confidence and strength, to regain my focus and intention. If I practiced these poses enough during the week I was able to stitch together moments in my day where I could conjure the same empowered and courageous self.
Then several years ago I found camel. Not the one I struggled in for years to find breath and support for my low back while I fought off the urge to throw up and kill the teacher in. The actual heart opener, the throat opener, the comfort in being so incredibly vulnerable and willing to allow my body to feel whatever was in that heart of mine. The scary as hell
camel that attempts to keep my tough love character and logically driven brain in check. The one that has trained my body, sometimes annoyingly, to soften when I feel anger, causing my mind to voluntarily follow suit…eventually and against its will at times.
Vulnerability may not be what you’re looking to cultivate. And that’s okay. We’ll all have different things we need at different points in our life. The important thing is we learn to figure out what these poses and what this practice does for us, how it effects our bodies and minds…and figure out how to use it to support and empower our true selves. As I always say: the more we engage in this process on the mat, the easier it gets to do in our day to day.
This week I invite you to figure out those couple of poses that will change your life.
Hint: follow what feels good and what gets you to breathe…that will point you in the right directions. For me I have an inkling I’ll be exploring (oh shit!) deep hip openers and core strength. Keep you posted.
High five to the journey!