I really love those yoga t-shirts and memes that have this quote on them. Most of my students come to class because they want to physically lengthen their muscles so that they have better range of motion and continue to move easily and effortlessly in their lives.
Flexibility is a great benefit of asana practice.
But LIFE has a way of, challenging our mental and emotional flexibility too.
We make plans and they fall to shit! We want things one way, life almost NEVER happens the exact way we want them.
Can you feel me on this mama?
But that’s just the thing about challenge and uncertainty. When things go sideways we are forced to reevaluate and think on our toes. We are compelled to adjust and adapt to meet the new demands Life throws us.
Just like on our mats, when we want to gain flexibility in our bodies, we have to reach farther than we’ve ever reached. We must go outside of our comfort zone in order to attain the muscular length we’re seeking.
This is why motivational speakers, Life Coaches and Yoga Teachers everywhere encourage their clients to go to their “edge.” To play on the very end of their comfort zone, because it is in stretching our bodies, minds and spirits that growth happens.
Furthermore, when we practice this physical and mental stretching often, we essentially become “unbreakable!” Think about that! Breaking our muscles (as in a strain) from a quick twerk or too much pressure. Or breaking our spirits from an unwanted dose of adversity.
One translation of the Yoga Sutras gives a story that explains this “I bend so I won’t break” concept perfectly. So I’ll leave it with you this week.
THE BIG TREE AND THE LITTLE WEED
A weed and a big tree where having a conversation. Both grew on the bank of a swiftly running jungle river. One day the tree looked down at the tiny weed and said, “Hey, you puny little creature, why do you stand near me? Aren’t you ashamed to be by my side? See how great, how big, how tall I am? How sturdy and strong? Even an elephant cannot move me. But look at you. Hah! You shouldn’t have come here. People will see the difference and laugh at you. Why don’t you move somewhere else?”
The weed bent her head. (I find it interesting that the weed is a female, but I digress). “Sir,” she said, “what can I do? I didn’t come here purposely. I just happened to be here. I know I’m not as strong and stiff as you. But please pardon my presence.”
“All right,” boomed the big tree, “but just remember your place!”
This conversation happened during the rainy season. The very next day a heavy rain came, inundating the jungle and causing a terrible flood. When a river floods, it erodes the banks and pulls down anything in its way. Coming in such force, the water pulled down the great tree instantly. But the weed bent down, flattened herself completely and let the water run over her. When the flood passed, she rose up again. Looking this way and that, she wondered, “what happened to the great tree? I don’t see it.”
From far away she heard the tree’s reply. “I’m being pulled down by the water. I should have been humble and simple and supple like you. Now I’m being destroyed.”
Morale of the story mama? Don’t let a stiff mind, spirit or body, be the “death” of you.
Have a great week!
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