No one has ever described me as flexible. During the whole winter of my 4th year, I wore underwear and cowboy boots and refused all other textiles. I chopped my hair off at the age of 8 because I didn’t want to brush it. Even as an adult, if I told myself I was going to get a fellowship, I pursued it with rigidity, if I was going to run that X miles in a week, I would never falter. In many ways my stubborn unbendable will weakened me, I ended up pulling my Achilles heel and was sidelined from my passion (and my addiction). It was clear that my longing for activity, for movement, had prevented some depth.
But I am not unplastic, however. I am constantly groping for more, the pulp of my desire enlightening new experiences. Which lead me to the mat…I had poo-pooed yoga for over a decade, and half-heartedly down-dogged through a couple classes at a gym. Yet, I signed up at a studio for a month of Bikrim Yoga and then, once the seedling shot up through my “chakra”, at the local yoga studio within walking distance of my house…and the funniest thing occurred….I began to listen. Discovering an aptitude for balance after all, and re-learning how to breathe and explore the vastness of the miracle of myself as a body.
It reminded me of that cool thing in Everything I needed to know, I learned in kindergarten: Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Too curious, I postulate that I was on the naughty mat for getting into Ms. P’s sticker jar again when she was teaching that lesson…or perhaps I wiped it away in favor of more linear, controllable habits.
And yet, on that mat, I find myself in despair and ambiguity quite frequently. I find my body unable to glide as it did in the 24 hours before, or sink fully into a pose where all my insufficient ways or accomplishments melt into release. One minute I say to myself “Your core is not strong” both physically and in life, and then I am amazed to find how centered I am.
Yoga honors the essential truth that I am alive, not in my body, but of my body. And, whether you call me it or not, I AM flexible….
Why do you do YOGA?
Me? 1) because the people at the studio make me feel accepted and known, JUST AS I AM 2) I need to practice listening 3) I am stronger than I know