When I came to yoga, I was a weakened bookworm. I enjoyed the stretching and hated the effort. I put up with all those horrific downward facing dogs in order to get to the delicious stretches. After going through a rigorous Pilates Certification process, I threw myself into my practice - attacking chaturanga dandasana, not feeling fulfilled unless I glistened in a layer of my own toxins, striving toward my checklist of perfect (yet contrived) anatomical grace.
In my yoga teacher training, I learned to circle back to that softness I once cherished. When had I become so rigid and goal driven in my practice, I wondered...and in my life as well? I began to work toward a balance of effort and grace. What a challenge!
The real work of yoga: realizing that the way you lay it down on the mat is symbolic of your life at large. So, sipping in my greater picture - I knew I had some changes to make. All the perseverance, muscular strength and, well, goal oriented thinking I had been submerged in --and to be fair needed to be thoroughly committed to in order to make it through my Pilates Teacher training-- had made me rigid in my thinking. I had become critical, judgmental and found it hard to understand why others didn't follow simple rules of etiquette (read: MY way of thinking).
Yoga was about to undo all of this. What a nice little capsule of a sentence. Like wow, I can just take my yoga pill and be balanced. Yoga, life, it is all hard work!
I began to notice that I was not the only one struggling with this particular judgy-ness, over-hard issue. As I look around the Fitness Industry, particularly the Pilates realm in which I teach- I found a compulsive drive to perfection.
This makes me sad now that I have a daughter. I don't want to see her get banged around by perfectionist thinking. I don't want her to have to grow up thinking that it's an either or world. How on earth can one instill both sukha and stira in a world of extremes? I don't really know the answer but I can take a stab that it involves the hard work of softening into motherhood.