Sunday, March 27, 2011

effort & grace

For as many translations of the Yoga Sutras as there are, there are variations of the wording sukha and stira. I resonate with effort and grace. Other translations include hard & soft, steady & comfortable, strength & get the idea.

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.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm starting to feel like myself again! (cue the singing cherubs) Is it the fact that my back is healthy again and I can exercise? Or that I'm starting to crave my usual healthy foods? I even dare say I've started to lose some of those darn 12 pounds left behind since the baby. Maybe it is due to the fact that my daughter is able to play independently on fleeting occasions and no longer needs to nurse 12 hours a day. In other words, I feel like the yoga ninja!

I'm still trying to figure out the focus of this blog. Most likely I will talk about the things I am passionate about: no-fuss fitness, being present, eating mindfully, & people who take themselves too seriously.

Monday, March 14, 2011