Over the years, my yoga practice has asked me to redefine the word balance. And the more conversations I have with my body and mind, the more I contemplate space - the spaces we move from and move into, the space we carve out, the space we give ourselves and others.
There is space for everyone. For every body and every emotion. There is space for all of your parts to be seen and heard, on and off the mat.
We feel, over and over again.
We feel the call to respond in this way.
We feel the urge to express ourselves in that way.
We feel the desire to move, to dance, to act.
But the question becomes: do we trust that feeling with enough fierceness to follow it?
When we land on our mat, the same contemplation applies.
Can we slow down and feel - with enough awareness and conscious breath - to siphon out the noise and move from wisdom and spaciousness? In the physical realm (asana), we can think of our body lengthening rather than stretching. I find this helpful when deciding if I am going too far in a stretch, which can often happen.
When I force a stretch, or pull too much, I steal space from other places in my body.
But when I lengthen, in an expansive way, I move with a quality of trust that honors my body and moves her into deeper spaces...but only when my body is ready and can move there in a more pleasant way; as one sustainable system.
I once heard a teacher say, “Balance isn’t about everything being equal. It’s about everything having enough space.”
I appreciate all yoga poses, sequences and styles. I am continually learning to appreciate what my body can and cannot do. And the more times I get on my mat to move or meditate, the more clearly I see what matters and what will linger for years to come. It isn’t the pose itself that will stick with me. It’s the amount of space I give all of my bits and pieces in that pose: my physical body, my thought patterns, the texture and cadence of my breath.
When we shift our awareness to the level of spaciousness within the practice, rather than the attachment to getting somewhere, we evolve in a much more profound way and, most importantly, feed our bodies in a nourishing and healthy fashion.
We find a level of presence and trust that translates to our everyday life. We then may begin to ask ourselves questions like, how can I give this person enough space? How can I be more present during this conversation? How can I slow down enough in my day to notice more color and life around me?
Yoga isn’t just what we experience on our mat, in the studio. It truly is about how we weave that practice into more areas of our life so we can enhance and savor our time here.
This piece of writing is an excerpt from my book that I am currently working on. I’m excited to share more pieces of it with you as it takes shape. I also invite you to share your thoughts with me on these topics or let me know what elements you would like to see in a yoga book. Thanks for reading and happy summer!