Yesterday, I attended another wonderfully balanced yoga class with the brilliant Pat Harada Linfoot.
The asana (yoga postures), at times, resembled what you might run into at a bootcamp; we were pushed hard but the sweetness that flourished from the sustained effort was so fruitfully rewarding.
The journey out of my head and into my body seemed effortless—the carefully constructed inversions felt comfortable and supported, and the restorative postures at the end of our practice were gateways to many deep layers of unfolding and unwinding. I felt a little extra yoga-stoned on my walk home. Yum!
While settling into a particularly long hold on the first side of one-legged forearm dolphin plank (ouch!), I pondered the concept of balance.
We are consistently told by our loving teacher that we are to listen to our bodies; to come out of a pose if it feels like it is too much; that child’s pose is always an acceptable place to come, to stay.
On the other hand, how do we define the line between pushing ourselves into the discomfort required for evolution (in this case, burning abs and triceps, in order to one day be able to successfully do inverted forearm balances) and respecting the body’s limits (giving ourselves the necessary, gentle space to rest and just be)?
This is a theme that consistently comes up for me in yoga practice and so obviously translates off the mat, to all areas of life.
How do we know when we should sit with discomfort for the sake of growth?
When should we push through?
How do we know when we are pushing ourselves too hard and when we should be more carefully connected to the concept of santosha (contentment)?
This means, gratitude and acceptance of wherever we are, knowing that it’s exactly where we are meant to be.
What I have come up with, at least in the context of my asana practice, is that I always know what I am up to if I’m paying attention.
Listening. Staying present. Perhaps this presence can be cultivated in all aspects of life. Career. Family. Matters of health. Love relationships.
It’s humbling to have glimpses of this…and then realize that I could look into this for many lifetimes and still only scratch the surface.
Written By Michelle Stevenson