Around a year ago, I started to do yoga every morning, carving 20 minutes of calm, sanity and connection into my day. I was foreign to it all and genuinely only started to ensure I was doing something for myself each day before I ran into a barrage of jobs for other people. It wasn’t long after that that I was introduced to yin yoga. And so the routine followed, short more flowing yoga during the week and one or two longer yin sessions during the weekends.
And why is this blogworthy? It’s worthy of sharing because I had a strangely simple and beautiful realisation last weekend, stretching and listening to a new instructor (I subscribe to an online yoga channel). The realisation was this. Much of what we do, practice, train and aspire to revolves around the concept of strength. We resolve to be impervious to comments and solid to touch. We aspire to be like mountains or rocks for those we care about, and to be anchored in our sense of reality. But our concept of strength can sometimes carry in it an inherent weakness: of making us brittle. We can maintain a sense of power as long as the pressures only come from certain anticipated angles and sources; yet we remain fragile, easily shattered, should something come as a ‘curveball’.
Last weekend, I lay in saddle pose and suddenly realised that it had gone from a scary position to one which felt empowering. Empowering because I was strong and flexible in my vulnerability. I could embrace the tension and pressure, relax into the discomfort of shining my heart centre forward with absolutely no defences, and be okay in myself. And I realised that that is the most beautiful of strengths to me. The inherent power we can hold in NOT firming up, locking in or blocking out. There is an unquestionable dynamism in being able to flow, right on the edge of your discomfort, remaining open and cognisant, present and relaxed. It’s possible to ease into a position without tensing up, booting in adrenaline, and a way to breathing your way to flexibility however life finds you at that moment.
When I started yoga, it was simply to preserve myself. But I have to say, that as I learn more subtleties that lie in the practice, I’ve learned to care for myself on so many levels. I’ve noticed that when you pay attention to a part of your body, it relaxes, and that we’ve lost that reaction when it comes to the mind and thoughts. I’ve learned that allowing yourself to be vulnerable is not about relinquishing your power or destiny to someone else, if you do it from a place of love not fear. I’ve learned that tuning into where your power and strength comes from day to day by day will change and that’s normal. And I’ve learned that when you can lean into being on the edge, when you can settle into the precipice of what you can accommodate that day, that’s when life opens up just a little more. That’s when the brain clears a little more. And sometimes, just sometimes, you can feel the old resistant patterns start to slide away. And that’s where the potency in vulnerability lies.