Yoga and I have had a bit of an on again, off again relationship throughout my life. Sometimes it’s due to things like cost of classes; sometimes it’s because my joints leave traces of pain in my body, screaming out as I move from downward dog into plank (for non-yogis, that’s moving from an upside down V shape to the top of a push up).
While my attendance in classes has truly varied through the past decade of my life, I find the teachings and the insights have always resonated with me, as I’m sure anyone who knows my inner workings has picked up. I like that it focuses on strength and flexibility. They complement each other. Finding the balance is important. This is a pretty solid underlying belief as I navigate my life; strength and flexibility work in tandem, creating your best life. I love working with that premise in my mindset, and encapsulating it in my body through yoga practice. Making yoga a regular part of my life here has helped me find comfort, stability and deeper understanding along the way. I’m grateful for that.
As look back on words I wrote just a few weeks ago, living in a world of saying yes and believing I can do whatever I set my mind to, I find that my mindset has shifted. Somehow I am now grappling with moments of fear and uncertainty. Perhaps it’s the nearness of my return to New York. Perhaps it’s trying to balance the fact that I still dream of travelling, but have left my secure income. Perhaps it’s the natural ebb and flow of this process of shedding some skin of my past.
Regardless, I find myself striving to utilize the fear to take action, as that’s the better option than curling up into a ball and crying. So I send a few emails, pick up a book or two to learn something new, work to remember that I do best when I let ideas percolate in my brain. Answers often come with time and working through the silt that resides in my unconscious mind.
And I continue to move towards finding balance. Strength. Flexibility. Trying to remember to breathe through the intensity, and to know that softness will come.
Last week, my yoga teacher partnered me into a handstand. As my hands maneuvered, trying to find stability on the earth, he supported my legs on the way up, eventually only touching the tops of my heels, until I suddenly returned my feet to the ground. I’ve always struggled with handstand. While I know I have the physical strength to support myself, I have a tough time letting myself go enough to kick above my head.
“You felt like you were going to fall?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“You were reaching vertical. That’s true freedom.”
It seems that’s where I am for the moment. Testing out my new vertical. Fearing the fall, but continuing forward the best way that I know how into what lies ahead. Moving through the anxiety and uncertainty. Finding my true freedom.