“… inhale … exhale… tailbone down, retract your shoulder blade… inhale… exhale… did she say elbows in?… inhale… exhale… low belly in…”

The voice in my head is a constant stream of guidance during a yoga class. I didn’t truly notice how much I was ‘talking to myself’ until this morning, when I had a truly unique experience during my practice.

The teacher was guiding us through a class, flow by flow, one pose mindfully framing the other, until we made our way to  Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, or king pigeon pose.  I found myself in quite the predicament:  one leg folded in front of me, one leg behind me- bent in a just so way in order to get my arms overhead and grab my foot. And there, in that moment, a breath… a pause… and as I found my form in the mirror the conversation in my head shifted.  ‘Wow Sara, you have really great alignment here.’ Like a best friend was standing over my shoulder and recognizing where I was exactly then, instead of my usual self reaching for what I wanted the pose to be.

Magical.

You wouldn’t believe the shift! My whole practice (13 years and counting) I don’t believe I’ve ever really stopped in the moment like that to see exactly what the pose was. Now I’ve had plenty of (what we call in the trade) AH-HA! moments. First headstand, first crow pose, first truly neutral pelvis in a warrior pose etc. But to actually be in the physical pose and SEE the physical pose was astounding.

It wasn’t even the perfection of the pose- because I can’t even do the full expression, but the pose itself is actually irrelevant here.  Whether you’re doing wheel pose, crow pose or standing in line at Starbucks is not what truly matters.

When was the last time you actually stopped to be your own cheerleader? Our relationship with our self (or should I say MY) gets so put down by cultural adherence and societal conformity that we are never enough, we forget to recognize our own talents and gifts- even to the point that we (I) struggle with taking a complement.

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to tell someone that you are good at what you do, or to create a resume that boasts your accomplishments? If you don;t struggle with that then when was the last time you let yourself believe that you are a good wife, sister, daughter, mother? I can assure it wasn’t recent enough!

As an exercise this week I’m going to practice gratitude. Of course I am incredibly grateful for my beautiful and healthy family, my amazing and inspiring co-workers. I’m grateful for the people who bag my groceries and for the folks who do the hard jobs everyday.

My practice this week is of gratitude for me. For all I’ve learned and have yet to learn. I’m grateful for my yoga practice and my mommy belly. I’m grateful for my dedication to the growth of all beings around me. And I’m grateful for this body, mind and spirit- without which I would not have been able to practice with my eyes open for the first time today.

namaste

 

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