The following was published on 10 September 2013 on www.oregonsportsnews.com.
I’m naturally a high strung person; I always have been. I consider myself easygoing, openminded, and wholeheartedly accepting, but I am an archetypal Hermione Granger. I tend to care too much for my own good, sometimes resisting the natural flow of life without even realizing it. Maybe one day a light will dim in my mind, inspiring me to just let go, but today was not that day. Tomorrow might not be either and I’m okay with that; I have homework to do.
It takes me a long time to feel resistance when it seeps into my being. Sometimes I think I’m open and aware before realizing I’m thinking too much. I’m judging. I’m judging myself, my actions, and I’m even judging myself for judging myself.
That chaturanga sucked. Elbows in.
You can downdog better that! Lock it up!
So… hum. So hum. Sohumsohumsohum. I AM. Focus!
Stop thinking so much and just savasana already. Breathe. Relax. Stop, brain!
“You are the least yogi yogi in the world,” a good friend said to me after practice one night.
Here’s the thing: I’m a passionate person and I’m an intense person. I like caffeine – maybe too much. I like bungee jumping. One time in college, I hitchhiked to Morocco for spring break. I tend to push myself to extreme limits, but I’m still a Hermione; I am me. That judgmental voice in my brain tends to remain a little cautious, even when I’m living at my edge. I find it hard to turn my brain off and give in to gravity; to trust the ways of the world and just allow myself to be. Maybe this means I resist a little too much, a little too often.
Resistance can serve us, however; it can be our ally, helping to tune out negativity. It can help us do what we want and ultimately, that is what is important. In the end, if we are not living our lives according to our own truths – our svadharma – what is the point?
If I choose a strong practice one day go with that nit-picky voice in my head telling me to keep my elbows tucked and my belly in, then that may serve me in the moment. If what I’m searching for counteracts what I’m being told I “should” do – either by myself or anyone else – then following that feeling may serve me best, both on and off my mat.
At my yoga teacher’s training, we meditated for two hours every day. Meditations sometimes led to visions that didn’t make sense at the time. In between detailed plans of what I’d eat for lunch that day, I’d often see myself free falling backwards into darkness. Sometimes a hand would reach out to me. I could only assume this meant something at the moment, but as time goes on, it’s making more and more sense.
There is power in giving in; going with the flow; and doing exactly what you want. No one is going to stop you from doing things your way except you. If you put your best self out there – your free flowing, natural, true self, without forcing or resisting anything – others will feel that. People will see how much you care and will have ultimate respect for that rather than stopping you. Rather than living in self-judgment, caution, and resistance: give in. Give in to gravity. Give in to yourself. Resist the can’ts, shoulds and should nots of the world; but don’t resist yourself.
Six months after witnessing myself fall into oblivion, this is my practice.