Everyday Words

Soften

October 15, 2013
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In almost every yoga class I go to, it’s a challenge. Truthfully, sometimes the challenge is just in even showing up. But I do.

And once on my mat, I take direction from my teacher who will tell me to stretch, lift, bend, hold, push. I often see others do this all with ease and yet in some poses I struggle. The triangle in particular where your legs are straight and your body bends over to the side, your one arm to the sky and your other arm straight out to the wall. It’s all legs and core – neither of which are my strong suit.

It’s often in this pose, or one like it, that I harden up. Jaw tightens, I’m holding all my muscles together for dear life and I’m sure I have the 11’s above my eyes forming like nobodies business. It’s hard.

In a class last week, I found this pose particularly hard. Frankly, I had found the whole day, actually week, hard. I was being hit with struggles left and right and had formed all these walls around myself in order to keep moving. I was rigid with sadness and fear and it totally showed up in my yoga class.

So when I was in triangle pose, my teacher came over to me to gentle helped guide my body into the pose and said, “this pose requires every part of your being to work. Every muscle has to pay attention. But in this pose, find one thing you can soften. One thing.”

My first reaction was, soften what? My legs were shaking, my core was burning, my arms were doing everything they could to hold this pose together that I feared if I softened one thing, I’d fall over and all the others in the class – who looked like they were all holding it together with ease – would see.

So I stayed in my struggle and she stayed behind me until she said, “find one thing. you can find one thing. Your jaw? Your eyes? It doesn’t have to be big, just soften.”

I let my jaw go and instantly the struggle seemed less. My everything still shook but the struggle seemed less. And the impossible of finding something to soften, happened.

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