Tuesday, October 6, 2009

From Anna: White Flag Waving

I love how you described yourself as a skipping record, out of it's groove until the restorative practice knocked you back on track. It's almost like yoga is an internal GPS system. Wherever we go, whatever is going on in our lives, and whenever we are adrift or have lost our groove, it helps us re-route and find a way back to ourselves.

The fact that it was a restorative practice that pulled you back into place speaks volumes. Recently in my teaching, I've noticed more and more how much people struggle with the 'surrender' piece of the yoga puzzle. As they form perfect right angles with their femur bones but fidget through a 3 breath hold of Warrior 2, I gently remind them that for many of us, going deeper may mean doing less. It's a tough sell to say the least.

Culturally we are taught to believe that for something to be beneficial we have to feel it, see it, make it, etc... The idea that in yoga there is 'doing' but also the 'undoing,' space to just observe - is a foreign concept and one that unnerves people. And I get it. I used to be the most fidgety person in the room, and when my teacher would say that it's only by letting go that we find strength I would think "well, that sounds lovely, but...."

Furthermore, the definition of the word 'surrender' (outside of the yoga world) is not a positive one, any way you slice it. Look up the word and you will find synonyms such as concede, quit, renounce, and my all time favorite- eat crow. It's no wonder people are hesitant, and even flat out resistant to let go.

I realize that it will take some time to ease my students towards surrender and that ultimately, it's a personal journey. All I can do is cultivate a space that feels safe for them to take that journey. And if its taking them longer than I'd like it to and I find myself impatient in the process? It means that I, too, need to close my eyes, deepen my breath, and work on the art of eating crow.

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