Balance

I LOVE BALANCING POSES. They make me feel like someone who is graceful and elegant and all the things I’m not. Today, I successfully did not place either foot back on the ground until the video prompted me because I am a goddamned crane/dancer/tree.

We’re moving into the last week of Dedicate which means I’ll soon be on my own to motivate myself to get on the mat every day. You’d think it would be the same–just get up every morning like I’ve been doing and get to it–but there’s something special about completing a series, collecting those experiences as they come out, that makes it a tiny bit easier to begin. Getting on the mat is the hardest part, Adriene always says.

I read a quote once about balance, but I can’t find it now. it went something like this:

You don’t find balance by standing perfectly still, you find it by constantly shifting.

I can’t recall the exact words, but the concept stuck with me because it’s not one of those bullshit-isms: it’s actually true. In a yoga pose, you don’t try to come to complete stillness in order to stay up on one leg, you have to move a tiny bit to stay there, and really you should be breathing and moving the whole time anyway. If you strive to find complete stillness, you’re a lot more likely to fall over (and hold your breath which isn’t great). Similarly, in other aspects of your life, you won’t find balance by halting your progress or sticking to a perfect routine because the world around you is constantly shifting and if you don’t go with the flow you’re sure to be knocked off course.

So when I’m in tree or dancer or really anything, that quote floats around my mind in some way, like a mantra. It’s not standing still, it’s moving to accommodate everything else.

Grace

I’ve always been clumsy. I’ve spent a lot of my life bruised and scratched from knocking into the edges of things, and more of what I’ve poured into cups has ended up on the floor than in my gut. It could be a lot worse, and I’ve grown into an adult who is significantly more poised, but no matter how many times I cross known thresholds, I will still manage to bang into them on too frequent an occasion.

You move too fast.

– My mother

She’s right. Even though I talked about my penchant for sloth yesterday, when I am doing things, I tend to try and speed through unless I really don’t want to do it. I think this is heavily influenced by nerves, especially if I’m around others. I get anxious and just want whatever I’m doing to be over. I’m sure I fell in front of some mean kids who made me feel terrible or something when I was little and I’ve carried that over into the rest of my life, but here we are. The nice thing about yoga is that it reminds you to slow down. I’m still working on carrying over these lessons off the mat, but subconsciously some of them have sunk in.

So I associate grace with slowing down. There are some things I will probably never do slowly like walk down a sidewalk or use a public restroom, but it’s worth it to attempt in other areas. But how? Adriene’s quote at the end of today’s session struck me:

The winds of grace are always blowing, but it is you that must raise your sails.

– Rabindranath Tagore

That suggests grace is something you can capture from the world rather than bring out from the inside. For a person who feels interminably clumsy, whose need to rush is second-nature, who was born pigeon-toed and near-sighted in one eye and far-sighted in the other, this is a huge relief. It’s out there, and accessible, I just need to call to it.

Graaaaaaaa-AAAAAAAAA-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace, where are you???