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True Strength Lies in Softening the Edges

I ugly cried on my yoga mat today. 

It's the second time this week. Between COVID exposures, life changing again (for what feels like the millionth time)  injuries flaring up, and SNOW in October... turns out I was holding a lot in. Yes, it's been quite a week.

I've said to so many people that I feel like this Fall has felt busier than ever. I've been waiting for the pause. The opportunity to reflect. I realize now it won't happen unless I make time for it, however, I was lucky enough to have the universe plop a chunk of time in my lap. The pause finally arrived. And with it... the tears. Turns out, sometimes what we need, more than anything, is not to keep moving or pushing through... rather, to stop. To pause. To allow whatever is happening to happen. I've been a driving force pretty much since March. I've made so much happen and worked my tail off and it's felt great. And. I was beginning to feel the wear and tear on my body.

I was beginning to notice how I pushed myself unnecessarily, how I powered through things, how I took on the mentality of "being strong."

I feel like I talk all the time in yoga about how strength will only get me so far. If all I do is muscle through my practice, I'm not really allowing practice to happen to me. Sure, I'm creating it, and I'm doing so as a driving force, rather than creating it for the sake of exploration, for the sake of seeing what's available today in my body. One of the reasons I love Power Yoga is the delicate dance between effort and ease.

Too much effort and I'm rigid- unmovable. Too much ease and I'm liquid- un-shapeable. It's the two together that create this harmony, and this ability to both support myself with strength, and then allow myself to be supported- by said strength, by breath... by the pose itself.

Power Yoga is not about being perfect or so strong I can do everything- rather- it's about finding the power within myself to adapt, to adjust, to work the practice so it works for my body. Take wheel, for example. I could push up into wheel today, however, I could tell my alignment was off and I was dumping in my low back. I could have chosen to stay and push through (and I have, many times). OR- I could work bridge, find a neutral pelvis, go all in there and squeeze my legs until they feel like they'll fall off and get SO MUCH more out of the pose than if I just pushed up into the shape of wheel for getting into wheel. The more powerful choice was to adapt- and work it. From that, I actually found new height and space in bridge pose that I didn't even know was available to me! 

I see now this last week, allowing myself to ease up a bit- to really soften my edges- to let go of the idea of strength as rigidity... what I got to was that I needed to support myself.

So I did a lot of that this week, too. I saw my naturopath. My chiropractor. I took a whole day off and did NO yoga work. ZERO. No emails, no to do lists... nothing. Even when my brain really wanted to go there. I texted a friend when I needed support. I turned my alarm off.  I read books. I baked. I'm getting a massage this week. I'm making time for all the things that help my mind and my body feel so supported and nurtured and loved. 

I'm also still getting on my yoga mat, this time... with my edges softened. And this week, I'm committed to exploring those softer edges. 

What about you? Have you leaned toward rigidity or ease during this time? Where could add in one or the other to discover something for yourself? Where do you need to support yourself right now? 

Spend some time this week sitting with those questions and see what you uncover.

I can't wait to hear your insights.

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