Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Resistance Training

Sometimes I meet a lot of resistance in my yoga practice. I mean a LOT of resistance. It usually begins by not wanting to practice - whether it is early in the morning or in the middle of my day - because of something else that sounds more appealing. If it is a morning practice, staying in my warm bed usually sounds better than getting up, getting on my bike and getting over to the center for practice. If it is later in the day I can think of other obligations I have, like grading papers, running errands or going home to make dinner and care for my family (notice that my obligation to ME was last on the to-do list). All of these excuses are usually the first form of resistance encountered before getting onto
the mat.

We also meet resistance on the mat in the form of tight muscles (hips and hamstrings are usual culprits). Relaxing and releasing into pigeon can be an exercise in tolerance for some - there is no "relax" or "release" involved! Folding forward can sometimes make our toes seem miles away. But this resistance has a lot to teach us.

The body does not lie. The body is a vessel of truth. The body is your relationship to what is true about and within you. It speaks through resistance.

Our mental and emotional tensions are stored in our bodies as physical dis-ease. We often ignore or overlook these from day to day and occasionally (okay, often for some) even take medication to quiet them down. When we get onto our mat it is our chance to hear what the body has to say - to effectively listen to ourselves. We can learn a lot from our achy knees or our inflexible spine. We can begin understanding who we are and what we need. By working out these tensions on our yoga mat we are effectively working out the tensions of our lives. We are relieving the mental and emotional tension housed in our bodies. We begin learning how to use our breath to release and relax into the areas of the body that are tight. We begin healing ourselves. And we feel better. We feel happier, healthier and more able to be of service.

By being in service to our true selves, by getting onto our mats, by listening carefully to our bodies, we meet our highest potential to be an instrument of service for others.

Breath by breath, we meet resistance with grace and receptivity.

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