I’m not a dancer. I’m not a gymnast. I’m not a contortionist. But I am an athlete, or at the very least, I was. In college, I was a competitive varsity fencer. Years on the fencing strip taught me to know the power of my own body, the resilience of my muscles and the fire in my belly. Fencing is about speed, strategy and patience. But I always felt far from graceful and used to envy my friends who opted for dance instead of sports. My body has always and sometimes still does feel so awkward, clumsy and out of place. I flail in space when body is tired, I wobble when my back aches and I creak like an old house when I nudge myself awake in the morning. Like I said, far from graceful. Graceful has always felt impossibly unachievable like grasping to cup water into a broken bowl.
But over a decade later of practicing yoga and after over a year of teaching yoga, I learned that once we let go of who we think we are, or what we think we are or what we think are bodies can and can’t do, we let our bodies and ourselves become what they/we are: effortless, easeful and flowing.
Grace is the gift we receive when we are lovingly open to the present moment. Graceful happens in our bodies when let go of limited ways of thinking, when we let our exhales release us from old harmful ways of doing and when we let our inhales fill us with nourishment. Sinew by sinew, our bodies imbibe grace with the ease of a soothing sigh. We breathe space into bodies as we open the dark spaces of our lungs and expand light into the shrouded corners of our heart.
Inner Yoga Reflection
1. What are the beliefs you have about yourself and your body? Are these beliefs empowering or disempowering?
2. How can we expand our beliefs about our bodies and our physical capabilities? Can we bring grace into our movements? How can we allow our bodies to embody grace?
3. Can we use the breath to help us open to the present moment? To open to the pose? To find an ease of breath in the pose?