We’re having a conversation about movement, tension, and softness in our online training group. It comes up quite a lot.
I think there’s a belief that we have to flex our muscles to be strong. Lock our joints to be safe. Push ourselves into alignment to be aligned. There’s so much we have to do! But, maybe we could do a bit less. Maybe how we do what we do is something we could practice, a bit more.
It’s maybe pretty common for us to try to think our way into everything. Even our own bodies. In this way we wind up doing something Tara calls “double-doing it” – trying to push and control what doesn’t need pushing or controlling. Trying to push and control our bodies. Trying to push and control everything and everyone, into doing what we believe they need to do. So of course we carry these habits into our yoga.
We flex our muscles, rotate our bones, lock our joints, brace for impact. Which is about as effective as deciding to beat our heart, tell a river to flow, and insist that electrons stop jumping around in their orbits.
It’s something opposite of getting out of the way, supporting our bodies, our friends, this world, by clearing obstacles, unblocking energy, and allowing nature to re-assert itself.
Still, it’s a habit. It’s our way of being in charge, even when we’re not so much in charge. It makes us feel safe, even when it doesn’t lead to safety. We have so much practice with all this thinking and pushing, choosing aggression over peace in our selves, and in this world. It’s very different from the choices that lead to harmony, grace, ease, peace.
Sometimes we hear something like “What if people aren’t sensitive, aren’t able to move well, aren’t able to do all this for themselves? Then we must step in and tell them what to do, align them, correct them, fix them. Flex, engage, rotate, and get them really thinking their way into these bodies that don’t work right.”
Mostly we only hear this from yoga teachers, talking about all these other people. Maybe this happens because a teacher has worked very hard to learn a certain way.
It can be scary to learn a new way. Maybe even more scary if your value is what you’ve studied, what you’ve memorized. But maybe less scary if this value is in your way of being, in your self.
I guess if I saw this working well for anyone – if people learned to move well, bring some grace, harmony, ease into their bodies, minds, their lives, this way, then we would want to look at this. But we don’t really see this so much. We more see a practice of distrust, some fear, some disconnection from our bodies. Maybe a belief that there’s something wrong with us. We need to think our way out of it, go to war with it. Go to war with ourselves. That’s our habit. Which maybe isn’t so much what we might choose to practice, if we see that’s what we’re practicing. We’d want a different habit.
Which takes a different way of practicing. Slowing down, practicing softness, a very old East Asian art, that takes some time. Changing our goals from pushing to be or look like something or someone else, to get a “pose” – to something more internal. Learning about our selves, how to relate to ourselves a bit better, more harmony, more peace.
So we need to make these new kinds of choices many times, for a long time, to rewire. To move in this better way, from something we know to something we are. It takes some practice.
And it takes some decision. We think it’s better, to be this way, to live this way, to create a world this way. So the practice is worth it. It leads us to be able to do much more, to get much more. I think maybe it also makes us a good person. Beginning with, a good person to ourselves. A lot begins here.
If you’d like more about movement, alignment, safety – and some of the differences between East and West in approaching these things – you can keep reading here.
– by Mike
About Strala Yoga Training
Strala combines the movement and healing wisdom of tai chi with the form vocabularies of yoga, tai chi, qigong, and Traditional Chinese and Japanese Medicine, to help people release stress, move easily through challenge, and live radiantly inspiring lives.
It begins with a mindset, that says our best way to get where we’re going is to feel good along the way. It also works miracles for whole health, helping us to find ease in our bodies and minds, and create the right conditions both for healing and optimal performance.
In our Strala Yoga Training Courses, you learn to shape your destiny on every level that counts, from your psychology, chemistry and neurology, to your chromosomes and even gene expression. The unique set of skills you develop – for connecting with yourself and others, unblocking your energy, healing what needs healing and accomplishing challenge with ease – uncovers your ability to create the life you want, and be an inspiring leader to the people around you.