February 13, 2011

A Change Will do you good —- Flexibility Rocks!

The bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you refuse to take the turn.  ~Anon

New ideas stir from every corner. They show up disguised innocently as interruptions, contradictions and embarrassing dilemmas. Beware of total strangers and friends alike who shower you with comfortable sameness, and remain open to those who make you uneasy, for they are the true messengers of the future.  ~Rob Lebow

  ARC’s Life Manifesto

Stay Present
Practice Patience
Cultivate Gratitude
Maintain Flexibility
Be Kind and Gentle
Remain Humble & Open Minded
Forgive, Forgive, Forgive
And above all else
Love Deeply

I can touch my toes…easily. Doesn’t that make me flexible? Well I suppose in that one way…but my true flexibility is not something that can be measured so easily.

Truth is I’m not all that concerned if people can touch their toes or not…I know it seems weird coming from a yogasana teacher, but it’s the absolute truth of it, flexibility of a different nature seems much more important and honestly useful. (don’t get me wrong physical flexibility has its usefulness…) Let’s look at the ways flexibility can be defined:

1. Capable of being flexed or bent without breaking; able to be turned, bowed, or twisted, without breaking; pliable; yielding to pressure; not stiff or brittle.
When the splitting wind Makes flexible the knees of knotted oaks. -William Shakespeare
2. Willing or ready to yield to the influence of others; not invincibly rigid or obstinate; tractable; manageable; ductile; easy and compliant; wavering.
Phocion was a man of great severity, and no ways flexible to the will of the people. -Francis Bacon.
Women are soft, mild, pitiful, and flexible. -William Shakespeare
3. Capable or being adapted or molded; plastic,; as, a flexible language.
This was a principle more flexible to their purpose. -Rogers.

(Uhmmmm…I might have to write a whole blog about Bill’s quote…another day perhaps)

How do you define flexibility? I guess in my short 42 years I have seen both over flexibility and stringent rigidity…so I guess I define it as that quality of a person that flows with changes around them but stands solid in their integrity. Ya’ know both strong and soft simultaneously — sort of middle of the road, you might say….(I feel like I have heard that before? )

I truly believe our ability to accept change gracefully/graciously and even with gratitude, is directly linked to our ability to enjoy, love and embrace the human condition. (And those that have read anything I write you KNOW I believe we are meant to embrace and relish the human condition)

Perhaps flexibility is simply the serenity prayer…

Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
(Although known most widely in its abbreviated form above,
the entire prayer reads as follows…)
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
Wow…I like that extended version even better…harder to memorize perhaps !

Without flexibility we do not grow, expand, learn, change, or even truly love. We do not discover, realize or create.
During class I invite students to explore and practice this idea of flexibility by trying to approach their practice in new ways…take it slower, try new things, or don’t take every pose to the extreme…anything that allows us to expand past routine and shift our minds into flexing in new ways. (another trick I pull is moving people around the classroom…that doesn’t always go over very well— talk about needing to practice flexibility!)

So, in your own life – where could you use more or less flexibility? How has rigidity effected some areas, how about extreme laxity?
What change could you embrace that would catapult you to that next level?
My problem has never been accepting change…it’s been more a case of ADDHD…but I have noticed recently that my rigidity in certain matters was making me sort of a sour puss…I’m relaxing a bit again…remembering that no one has all the answers so how can you cling too tightly…for new information comes everyday.

Asana (yoga pose) of the week:
Compass Pose – Parivrtta Surya Yantrasana

Point yourself in a direction, but flow with the current.

Wellness Tip for the week:
Being flexible to change may be one of the keys to lower blood pressure. Learning to go with flow might be what you need to stay fit and healthy!
Stress. Studies have shown that people with heightened anxiety, intense anger, and suppressed expression of anger were more at risk of developing high blood pressure.2,3

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