One of my yoga teachers says: You don’t find yoga, it finds you.
While I’d prefer to think I fell in love with my sweltering vinyasa classes because of my untiring search for balance, flexibility and self-development- the truth is I resist, push, and deny my need for these things. Yoga illuminates that truth like a smiling, gentle teacher who I’d punch in the face if I weren’t trying to twist myself into a bound-floating half-moon.
I do a lot more resisting than allowing. Yoga reminds me of how conniving my inner dialogue can be- and how gullible I am to the stories I tell myself about my life.
If you’d rather watch a video of this story, check it out below. If you prefer words- read on ;).
My yoga practice illuminates all sorts of self-imposed limitations and walls I’ve built. The heat melts off layers of pretense, judgement, and body-shame. Eventually the sweat reveals my spirit- and SHE, is unlimited.
Last week She made an appearance in the final stretch before savasana- a wide-legged forward fold.
I LOATHE the forward fold, and my body and mind quickly agree- ‘we’re not doing this today’. But I like to fit in- and it looks bad if I don’t TRY, so I reluctantly arrange my legs in a V shape and hinge forward- fully expecting the inevitable: I can bend about two inches until my legs and back scream STOOOOP.
My profile resembles a lazy L, and just like that, my body reaffirms what my mind tells it:
You SUCK at forward folds.
I glance around the thick, dim room and see foreheads resting comfortably on the floor- WTF- do they SLEEP like that? So peaceful. Restful- so fucking zen.
My mind returns to my own mat and I notice my story. My brain is telling me I’m not flexible because I’ve never been flexible. I’m parroting the words I’ve used my whole life to describe myself: Stiff, inflexible, tight hipped, scoliosis-backed Steph- and I’m tired of her.
And right then, in my dehydrated haze- I flip my script and let go. I’m ready for a new story.
I hear my spirit say: I allow myself to be flexible.
I allow myself to be flexible.
Can I allow this? -YES.
Is there a chance my hips will allow it to? -MAYBE.
I inch my forehead toward the floor.
Everything shifts- I hear myself (excitedly now) saying: Remember that time in yoga where I nailed a wide-legged forward fold?
Yes, I do remember.
My hamstrings release.
My mind’s eye sees me from the ceiling and visualizes my back relaxing forward, and my legs allowing gravity to move me.
Minutes later I hear my teacher signal it’s time for savasana, and my forehead is only inches from the floor.
I’d successfully changed my story.
My yoga practice mirrors everything else in my life- and this forward fold is a shift worth noticing- a shift in being.
When we encounter resistance and don’t challenge it and work through it- we become inflexible. Not just in yoga- in life.
– Don’t accept your circumstances as unchangeable- no matter how shitty they seem.
– Acknowledge them, stay curious, challenge your story, and work THROUGH the resistance, not against it. Move through discomfort instead of running away.
– And most importantly, NEVER let your past dictate your future.
See yourself new in every moment – all you have to do is choose a new story.
If you want help with that- I have a beautiful e-course to walk you through it. Check it out here.