Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Perfect Pose

We live in the age of technology. Love it or hate it or indifferent about it, it is what it is. For some of us though, all of us if you ask me, it can just be too much sometimes. Too much to take in and process. More stuff we need to sift through to decide what we want to allow ourselves to absorb. Because if you don't sift through it, and you just take it all in, you're gonna die. It might not physically kill you, right away, but it slowly creeps into your soul and dims your light, your life force. 

For everyone it's different. The things that get to them. The images or just the download of information that hurts them inside. I have friends who are affected by seeing all the "perfection" on social media. By the "perfect" mom's posts about her "perfect" house and kids and life. Although logically she knows this other chick's life isn't perfect, it leaves her feeling inferior, like she isn't giving it her all, like she should do more and do better. I have friends who are affected by the horrible things that pop up on their feed. News about war, and killing, and tragedy. They close their computers feeling afraid, and disappointed in humanity. It hurts their heart and makes them walk away feeling hopeless. Sometimes we know what things trigger us, and so we carefully walk around them. Other times we are willy nilly cruising Pinterest or reading a blog and are suddenly hit with a blow to the gut by something we have just read or seen. And still other times it's slow, and subtle. You don't even know its happening until one day you realize you are in a funk, you feel defeated, and if you give yourself the time to reflect, you will realize where the poison came from.

So yesterday, I'm scrolling through Instagram while I am waiting for my little dudes to wrap up tickling the ivories in their piano lesson. Instead of just looking at people I follow, I go to the part where you see what people you follow have liked and all that jazz. Image after image after image of beautiful yogis captured in breathtaking poses. Some in the snow, some on a hilltop, some by the waters edge, some in a studio. All in adorable yoga outfits, all stretched out in appearingly effortless glory. Strength, calm, dedication, "She must practice everyday! I should be practicing everyday, what is wrong with me?" "Look at that handstand. Look at her perfect alignment, the strength in her core and her arms, how relaxed her face looks, like she isn't even trying. I'll never be able to do that." Little by little, each image I scroll past dims my light a little bit more. I find myself feeling defeated for not practicing enough. Self conscious because I know my pigeon does not look like that. Frustrated because I know how good it feels to practice, I know the joy, strength and peace it brings, and still I can't get myself to wake up early enough to get it in every day. I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling a little down. Thinking I've lost my focus. Wondering if the curtain is closing on me once again, shadowing truth and wrapping me in worldliness. 

A little before it was time for our bedtime rituals, of me laying with each little dude for a bit, saying our nighttime prayers and cuddling, I went to my bed, diffused some oils, and breathed. I wasn't feeling depressed or sad, but a bit deflated. I knew where the poison was coming from and wanted to readjust my perspective. I remembered a  quote from this wonderful gem of a book "How Yoga Works" about the perfect pose. 

 "You see, the point is not what the pose looks like in the end, to someone watching you .....  It’s the process of the pose as it goes on, it’s what it does inside of you: how it works to begin to straighten and open your channels.”

I also remembered my teacher reminding us in class, "We aren't going for Yoga Journal here guys. Each of us will do this pose a little bit differently. We each have our own strengths and limitations."

Oh yeah. It's not about the pose, what it looks like. Yes, we need to take the steps to do it correctly, to obtain the benefits from it that are meant to be obtained. But the perfect pose is one where you're dedicated, devoted and intentional. You will feel light but full. It helps to open your heart and your mind, acceptance of yourself grows, grace for yourself grows, love encompasses. Remembering we are all still learning. The student is the teacher and the teacher is the student. Remembering the point of practice.

I thought about the ways I have changed since I began practicing. So much more peace and compassion for myself and all living beings. Thought about how just a week prior as I waited to get wheeled in for a little day surgery I was filled with calm. I spent my time waiting with joy in my soul. Thinking and sending love to other people that were on my heart instead of thinking and worrying about myself. I didn't try to do that, I just did it. It was natural. It felt so good. The nurses kept trying to entertain me, asked if I needed TV or a book. I just kept smiling and telling them I was happy just how I was. 

Authenticity > Perfection

Imperfection > Perfection

Perfection DOES NOT = Beauty or Happiness or Contentment ONLY more striving for the wrong stuff

So today, after I write this, I am going to focus on what the perfect pose really is. What living a soulful and intentional life is about. I am going to cultivate that peace and love that lives inside and grow it and share it. I am going to be accepting of myself and of each one of you.  All of us with our gorgeous imperfections. I'm going to be aware of my thoughts, what I am saying to myself, and remember truth.

My hope for you today is the same. Accept your beautiful self <3

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