Pedal to the metal…

I have been meaning to write this blog all day; not because I have to tell anyone anything, more because of a feeling I had in my yoga practice today that I really want to log in my own memory.
A lesson learned that needs to be remembered.
For me it was a totally epiphany moment!
It might help someone out there, who knows.
I have been practicing ashtanga yoga for many years and was blessed with the gift of flexibility from day one – this for me was definitely NOT a gift even though everyone says I am “Soooooo lucky….”.
As I have said many times before – ashtanga yoga is like the ‘search and destroy’ of all the hatha yoga practices out there (hatha yoga being the more physical limb on the path of yoga).
For me, ashtanga pointed the spot light on my physical weaknesses almost right away – an inability to hold a ‘plank’ for example and in general, to move my body weight around the 2 by 6 ft mat was not as easy as my peers made it look!
I went on to spend years looking outwardly at others practices for help in finding the strength I needed inside.
How were these freaks holding themselves up like that?
Where does that power come from?
And why can’t I find mine?
It was a strange journey, looking for something you don’t know how to find. I didn’t know what it was supposed to look like or feel like.
And so, without any kind of marker or experience of such to go by, I just kept searching.
For some, my yoga practice might look strong, and I guess, in many ways it is… but for some reason I have been feeling a little lost, like I am almost faking it.
And it is true – I was.
Fake strength – you’ll find it in a yoga studio near you – the kind that relies on flexibility etc. until someone comes along and points it out.
So now for a big thankyou to Sarah Hatcher, my teacher plus many days and months of practicing the techniques she so confidently shares!
Today, whether it looked like it or not – I found a new feeling in my body.
STRENGTH.
Funny. It was not what I expected strength to feel like – but I know for sure that’s what it was.
100% undiluted strength.
The physical kind.
And who would have thought I’d find it in the middle of a 7 day juice feast!?!
So, the reason I have to document this is because of my thoughts at the time… I don’t want to let this one slip past me. It’s too important.
“Wow” I thought “This is really fucking hard!” and then “…but that’s just how it is, I’ve actually got to work for this!”
And so I did, I put my pedal to the metal and pushed through.
It wasn’t the walk in the park I’d hoped for, it was not glamorous and I still have a life time of work to do.
As I came out the other side of my practice today I realized a lot about myself and the difference between force and strength…
It has taken time to get here and I put it down to these points…

  1. Listening
  2. Practicing
  3. Resting

Now put them on loop!
Whatever it is you do, these 3 things seem to be helping me and might help you – be it in flexibility of your muscles or for strength building.
You have to listen, you have to practice, you have to rest.
It can be applied to the body, the mind or anything for that matter.
I thought strength was going to be pretty, like how it looks in the movies or on the cover of Yoga Journal magazine.
In actual fact, even if it does look pretty form the outside, inside it feels like something BIG is happening and we’re going to need this whole fort (body/mind/soul) to keep it together!!!
It requires all your attention, there might be some blood sweat and tears along the way and be prepared to be SHAMELESS.
Clearly I could talk about this forever, but it is too late and I have to sleep!!!
It’s day 4 of my juice feast and I am feeling great, this is an exciting feast this time!
Thanks for letting me ramble on about my exciting new discovery.
I’d love to hear about yours.
Good night!

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3 thoughts on “Pedal to the metal…

  1. Jenna says:

    Ms Wee Yogi, you absolutely have strength in spades. Mental and physical! In confessions of a wandering dristi, I saw you work into bound urdhva dhanurasana today. Well done!

    Here’s my favorite saying about patience and observance: Ndank-ndank mooy japp golo ci naay.Slowly, slowly catches the money in the tree. šŸ™‚

  2. Maria says:

    Ah, wee one! thx for writing about the balance of strength, flexibility and peace of mind – the coordinates will ever be shifting like the stars as you sail along… no complacency allowed! I recently took a pro-active stance on the weaknesses that have developed in certain areas as I got stronger in others, and it has really helped (cross training a little bit to make a mind body connection). And, as my equipment ages, my approach has become wiser. It’s a fun journey, isn’t it – I’m curious as to “what it felt like” to tap into some newfound physical strength if it didn’t feel as you’d expected. Do tell!

  3. Sarah Hatcher says:

    Weeeee Yogi!

    Fabulous you are finding your epiphany – so wonderful you are on the mat and I love seeing you every day. You are amazing, Weeeee!

    Incredible, you are!

    S

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