COURAGE......can you walk through the door of your weakness? Of course you can! See u on the other side....
Happy Monday yogis, COURAGE.....what a word!!! Taking chances, facing your fears, reaching out for help, being a parent, trusting someone with your heart, doing the right thing, admitting you are wrong.....I could go on forever, but all of the above and almost every moment of life requires courage.
I actually began to think about the theme of this week when I took a "yoga class party" last week for our lovely 10 year old next door neighbour's birthday. She and her friends were so full of energy and confidence, I was blown away. They were up for trying each and every posture with enthusiasm and vivacity. If they couldn't do the full posture, they didn't seem frustrated or upset but kept trying until they found a variation that suited them. They had no expectations of what they could or couldn't do and as a result attempted everything. An element of fearlessness teamed with a fresh, fun approach to class makes for very competent yoga students! I really enjoyed teaching them.
Yoga is not just about flexibility, balance and strength, it is also about exposing the weaknesses in your practice and making them strong. To admit vulnerability ultimately takes courage, and to find the postures that highlight your weakness is the only way to strengthen you exactly where you need to be strengthened - physically, mentally and emotionally. I was once told that "limitations are like doorways", chances to challenge yourself to walk through and conquer the areas in the mind and body that may hold you back, and of course this requires temerity and guts.
I confess, I am not naturally blessed with fabulous turn out (as my ballet teachers told me time and time again), my hips are extremely tight and it has really been a journey (one that i am still travelling) to open them up. I store my pain and frustration there and I always used to avoid hip openers, now I embrace them. I would even go so far to say I LOVE pigeon pose! I also have very flat feet and used to struggle with balancing until my yoga teacher made me aware of lifting my arches with my inner thighs and that changed everything. Even sharing these weaknesses with you is hard for me. Remember, we all have our own personal journey and every body is different!
So I have devised a strong, challenging sequence this week for my wonderful students and readers to ignite the courage to be open to vulnerability and take your practice and your existence to the next level.
YOU ARE A WARRIOR - both Warrior I and Warrior II (Virabhadrasana) feature heavily in my classes this week. The leg muscles are some of the largest muscles in the body. Using them to root down strongly into the earth for stability in order to bravely lift up, out and reveal the heart is a powerful combination that elicits courage.
OPEN THE HEART IN BENDY BOW - Bow pose (Dhanurasana) is a back extension which reveals our front body, this houses many of our vital organs and our heart. We instinctively close down the front body when threatened; it takes great courage, physical strength and trust to expose our vulnerable side to the world.
YOU MAKE MY HEART SING, WILD THING - Such a rapturous, liberating posture, Wild Thing (Camatkarasana) again opens up the heart but always feels like such a welcome release. I always imagine any negative thoughts or feelings in my body, just falling out of my head. I also adore that stretch from the fingertips to the toes. With my more advanced students, we will move from here into full wheel!
And of course the hardest posture of all;
SAVASANA (Corpse Pose) - to truly look within and find inner peace, well that takes the most courage of all. To genuinely leave the ego and its needs and desires behind........yogis that is the ultimate challenge!
You have already been courageous to get to where you are now, so just remember to call upon that courageousness, wherever and whenever you need to, as your journey continues.