June 18, 2013

Why We Practice.

Don’t get hung up on what your body looks like—focus on what your body can do!

I was born with scoliosis, and after a car accident in my teens my back was nothing short of a mess. I was in serious pain every day for years, and when I started practicing yoga it was nothing about the asana.

I fell in love with the space you create on the mat, with breath work, with meditation—it wasn’t until three years ago or so that I got serious about the physical aspect of yoga as well.

Everything was painful, and I had such a fear of backbending that even the thought of Wheel Pose made me shiver. So all of you that think some people just happen to be blessed with a strong practice and that it’s not for you…think again.

I had never done a handstand in my life two years ago. Ever!

The strength I have on the mat and the space I’ve created in my body is a result of a lot of hard work, but mostly…a lot of letting go. We hold so much emotion in the body. Practicing yoga is releasing—that’s why it’s so difficult! Not because we move in different ways or inhale to lift this and exhale to lower that.

It’s scratching at the surface of what you don’t want to see; it’s unveiling all the fears and judgments you have about yourself buried deep inside. It’s connecting to what’s really true.

And yes, along the way we might pick up some strength and flexibility and handstands and backbends and arm balances—this is a bonus. It’s not why we keep returning to the mat, every damn day. It’s not the purpose of this practice.

As I move deeper and deeper into backbends, I move deeper and deeper into self-love. As I build strength to balance steadily on my hands, I build strength to face whatever the world throws at me. As I release tension from the hips, shoulders, hamstrings, I release fear, frustration, sadness. Little by little…I release the need to control.

As I learn to surrender on the mat, I learn to surrender to the present moment.

This is the practice.

It’s accessible to you, to everyone, right here, right now—but you have to do the work. No one is going to do it for you.

Don’t hold back.

Today is a beautiful day for a new beginning.


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Ed: Bryonie Wise

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