Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Must... Touch... TOES!

Image: WholeLiving.com
You know that student in a beginning yoga class that can't touch her toes? The one who the yoga teacher smiles knowingly at as she advises to relax and soften ... But you see this look of frustration in the student's eyes as she grits her teeth, furrows her brow, and tries to force her hamstrings to open because, by God, she IS good at this no matter what that teacher says and she WILL touch her toes if it's the last thing he does!!? Sometimes determination looks a lot more like constipation... and this kind of determination causes injuries and wrinkles, too. It's not worth it.

I hate to admit it, but even though I know better, I'm a lot like that student these days. I'm not trying to force my hamstrings open (I've already learned that lesson), but I'm trying with all my might to make other things happen in my life. The problem is, the harder I try, the more tense, tight, and challenging everything gets (like those stubborn hamstrings). And, as we all know, forcing is no way to approach a challenge on the yoga mat or in life.

On the mat, the answer is to stop judging, soften, back off the stretch, and just let the flexibility come organically when the time is right. I'm sure that's probably the right answer in life, too, but I wouldn't know because I can't get past the struggle to find out what would happen if I just chilled the F*&@ out! It's much harder to apply yogic principles to your life ...

So... that's my meditation for the week (and possibly for the rest of my life). Trusting, letting go, not trying so damn hard.. and, hardest of all, allowing all my judgments to float on by... Where I am right now is exactly where I'm supposed to be, and no amount of reaching will bring my toes closer to my fingertips. Obviously, there are lessons for me right now in this moment, and if I keep trying to move past them and on to the next thing before I'm ready I'll be stuck here forever.