Motivated by losing inches in my hips, just over a year ago, I committed to deepening my yoga practice within my hips. A year later, I do believe that I have probably lost a little bit in measurement, but honestly, I can’t remember now what I started out as…inches wise. What I do know is that my clothes fit just a little bit better, and my mental emotional clarity and awareness has increased vastly.
Though it was inches that put my reluctance of going deeper in my hips into action, the deeper sleep, ease in my breath, and general overall good feeling in my body, it is the depth that my yoga practice has taken in my emotional stamina and clean sense of connection to my soul that has been the most unexpected and rewarding aspect of this journey.
When doing yoga, we can experience tightness and constriction as pain, but as one can learn to go in a little deeper with kindness and compassion, you can unfold the tightness as a variety of sensations that usually root back to an emotional quality. For example, I can feel sometimes a tightness that is “painful” that seems to be more achey and dull and that sensation feels impatient. I can bring in a sense of directed breath and awareness that allows the sensation to move and unwind accordingly. Witnessing the unraveling allows a powerful ability in my heart to withstand these same qualities in my regular daily life. The tender pain that makes me want to shy away altogether and roll over and watch TV instead of stretching tends to be the more deep weepy emotional sadness. This quality of tender pain drives a desire to numb. In my daily life, I might numb with food, chocolate, or alcohol. Going in and mindfully allowing the slow slow slow release of these areas helps me to hold myself as that scared frail child and cradle her with tender love. Again, the qi trapped there in this space slowly moves and there are openings and releases that happen in surprising spots. As both my awareness and stamina become cultivated, I am able to hold myself in my daily life when my vulnerable spots become highlighted and my guard is down. As a side note, Caroline Myss describes Evil as, “Your vulnerable spots that get highlighted when your guard is down.” Therefore, I am better able to cope with my own demons by practicing my deepening and mindfulness on the mat…the yoga mat.
Yoga for me is one of my tools for going deep into my soul and knowing myself. Physically, I was surprised to discover that what I thought was a problem in my right hip, has traced it’s way back nearly to my left ankle among other spots. Yoga is a discipline, a training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. Practicing yoga as a discipline is a choice that I make consistently to hold myself accountable to myself. Selecting one area of my body that is problematic or tight helps me to focus and learn more about myself.
I always like to give some ideas for practice. Here is a series of simple yet profound yoga stretches that anyone can do. You can modify it and go as deep or not deep as serves you and your body. I do this series EVERY time I begin my practice. It is part of my warm up.
My latest committment is to learn the Jump through. After 24 years, I am DETERMINED. I have no expectation of it happening quickly or slowly. I am simply using this goal of learning how to do it as a means for, once again, understanding yoga as discipline. I can see watching my fellow yogi/inis in my newly joined Mysore yoga class doing this with incredible grace and ease. How do they move this grace through their body? Where is my body sticking/stuck? Each day learning more. The energy of movement from one pose to another is just this unfolding and lifting, not this swinging and forcing. It’s so beautiful and I can feel this grace coming into me at times and others it eludes me. The entire process is exciting. I have promised my teachers that when I do “jump through” I will be having a BIG ‘Ol Party! Will be a fun celebration for sure!
Here’s a video of the jump through that I am learning:
What disciplines do you use to learn more about yourself? What discipline will you take on in your life? Would love to hear from you. Please comment below.
In love and light, from my hips and heart to yours,
Margaret, The Mother of The Mother Rising