Thursday, September 17, 2009

Power v. Strength

Lately, my practice has been one of tapping into my power--exploring those opportunities to test the waters of my hang-ups or fears, to go just a little further than I thought I might or imagined I could.

When I say practice, I mean on AND off the mat. On the mat this exploration of power has taken the form of exploring poses that I typically filed away as 'never going to happen'. Off the mat, I am beginning to take chances and break my own mold--saying yes, when I typically might have said no out of fear or resistance to change.

Let's start with asana--I was mortified of handstand, convinced that my arms would cave and I would nail the crown of my head into the floor snapping my own neck. (Can you say drama-QUEEN?) I had played with handstand from time to time but never with any seriousness, always telling myself that I was merely appeasing the instructor who had suggested we students 'play' with the prep poses.

'K--I'll play and I'll pretend that I might just make it, I might even, on a fluke, kick my legs all the way to the wall and remain for a few breaths out of sheer shock but this pose will never be a part of my practice. I simply cannot commit (make-me).


This is where my strength met my power.

From all of the various seeds of handstand and her prep poses sowed along the way , something sprouted--a genuine, personal desire to try, a curiosity to dare.

So I did and...

Like butta' I was able to kick my legs up, at least to the wall and, while there, in a kind of oh-shit-cool-I'm-still-standing (on my hands) I realized, with surprise that my arms gave no indication whatsoever of tiring or collapsing.



Now, sure. I should have practiced being a bit less attached to the outcome of that first successful handstand, recognizing each prep practice as the progression toward just another outcome but...


Now I'm a handstand junkie or in more eloquent, balanced yogi language--I practice

The point?

My power led me there, my strength held me there--it was through mental determination that I even dared plant my hands inches from the wall, a little bit more of that keeping me from nose-diving out of imagined fear and strength that not only braced and secured my body but fortified my resolve.

I should have known that my arms (and more than that, my body) would not let me down. I gave into trust, dropping all resistance.

Which brings me to my off-the-mat practice.

I am trying to break out of the mold I have lived in for most of my (conscious) life.

Obviously, somewhere along the way, I became a slave to my fears--cry me a river, right? Join the club--I hear ya.

So lately, I have intentionally moved toward that which scared me instead of moving away. For example, I stepped out of an eight-year relationship and did not allow myself to be swayed by the unknowns--financials, ever being loved again, dying alone, etc. You know, the tiny details.

Another fear of mine has been to teach a community yoga class offered every Sunday by a yoga clothing boutique here in my city. It's a bit overwhelming as it draws a huge and diverse crowd of yogis and a touch uncomfortable as it's not quite my scene (typically). But I want to open my mind to the possibility that someone there might learn something from me and, even more, that I might learn something from them.

I don't want to limit myself or not pursue something because of preconceptions that I harbor.

So instead of over thinking it the way I usually do, I emailed them requesting to have myself added as an instructor for the last Sunday in October--done.

I am nervously thrilled!

Lastly, I am discovering and honoring my voice in my teaching by trying to break out of past habits and not over think the words that want to find their way out of me--just allowing them to flow, speaking from my heart because I know no other way.



One inspires the step, the other maintains the momentum--both show you places you never thought you could go and leave you begging, what next?

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