I’ve never been able to touch my toes.
And it’s exactly why I do yoga.
I’ve always been very stiff. Interestingly, yoga has made me more open—but it hasn’t changed this tendency towards stiffness. If anything, I now have more specific information about the stiffness.
In the last year, I’ve been able to identify one blockage in my right hip.
Many people have tight hips, which can lead to knee injuries when the knee joint over-compensates for hip inflexibility. Thanks to so many fantastic yoga teachers, I’ve learned to work gradually, into both of my hips, without creating or exacerbating injury.
Last night, I was toying with this tightness in a workshop. I learned that my knees hyper-extend—and, as they do that, my hip gets locked; it can’t move around the blockage at my knee, so it creates a second blockage.
As I stood tall, I could feel my right heel have a pointier contact with the mat, as opposed to my left heel, which felt more spread on the mat—my left hip feels far healthier and more open.
Yoga is not magically allowing me to race into impressive poses, with some notion of “perfect” movement, nor form.
Instead, it’s shining an ever brighter light; I’m getting more and more information about my habits of movement, my tendencies of thought and the ramifications in my body. I’m pretty well formed after thirty years of moving within this skin—but not intractable.
With this information, I’m gradually making subtle shifts: I sit differently. I stand differently. I’ve softened my reactions and reconsidered beliefs. My self-perception is broadening and morphing. I am becoming more open.
The sweetness in the gradual unfolding of yoga is to consistently push back against limitations; what once felt like a barrier becomes information and ultimately, a boundary is dissolved.
In the first phase of this process, I’ve gotten clearer on the tightness in my hips, which has granted me a gradual self-awareness. Now, slowly working into opening this barrier shows me possibility.
I may be formed, I may have tendencies…but I also have so much potential.
My hips can (one day) move me freely into any number of dynamic yoga shapes. If my body can grow, what else is possible?
A friend of mine recently wrote that she began the practice of visualizing and manifesting opportunities in her life when something unprobable happened—she befriended a rockstar she’d idolized for years. The friendship reminded her that all humans are simply humans.
The transition from fan to friend taught her that anything is possible; from that early experience, she began manifesting homes that grounded her, opportunities to enrich and a life that reflected her wildest desires.
Perhaps my relationship to my hip is my friendship with a rockstar.
My body has often felt like a tight container, to be ignored or placated; yoga is helping me reintegrate. I’m finding myself move through a relationship with my body, as I would gain familiarity with a friend. Now, areas of tension (like my hip) feel like information, instead of limitation.
I still can’t touch my toes—but, if anything, that becomes renewed motivation to stay on the mat—and I’m grateful for this opportunity.
If yoga came easily, it would be far less interesting and certainly less illuminating.
The edge and resistance allow me to earn every little bit of space I receive, to feel grateful for the chance to steadily open and to be excited about where else in my life I may find possibility.
Passionate about healthy bodies, relationships and communities, Maiga Milbourne E-RYT, teaches vinyasa yoga to groups and individuals. Yoga offers so much to each student: physical health, mental well-being, ease and community. In reflection of the broad benefits of yoga, Maiga has created a range of services to provide to her clients, all seeking to help each one realize their fullest potential. Learn more at maigamilbourne.com.
Editor: Bryonie Wise
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