Strength from Softness

Last weekend, at Estes Park Yoga Journal Conference, I spent an illuminating day with Amy Ippoliti in her day long Anusara & Yoga Therapeutics Intensive. This weekend, I got my proverbial butt kicked at an AcroYoga & Acrobatics Intensive weekend with Jason Magness & Chelsey Gribbons. The two experiences could seem so distinctly on opposite sides of the yoga spectrum. I found myself in the middle of my awareness, face to face with my preconceived stories, looking over my edge at an abyss of what is and is not possible. And that the latter may not exist, if only my mind would allow.

I came away from Amy's workshop with a delightful perspective on the power of Matrika Shakti, in my simple understanding, it is concept that words arise from your energetic body and reveal themselves as your universal truth (for more: That what you say, becomes your reality. For example, if you are always referring to your "bad knee", than by your verbal/mental relationship gets stuck in that place and will continue to be what you will be living with/dealing with: a bad knee.

We explored a lot of movement, techniques for healing, but above all else: what are the words and stories surrounding your injuries? Amy would turn around commonly heard comments in a way that continues to make me laugh, instead of referring to a shoulder that always hurts, she would say "Hey, remember that shoulder thing I had. Wasn't that weird?" It magnetizes space and a quirky curiosity to my expanding awareness, rather than frustrated expectation of my own healing, while also implying that the body being in health and able to heal itself is the norm.

Fast forward a few days to the beginning of the Acrobatic AcroYoga workshop. We were asked an introductory question: who would you be if you were a Superhero? The first answer that popped into my head (which is usually the right one right?) Bionic Woman, because she was transformed from a place of incapacitating injury to unbelievable strength and ability. I think I have this, I think we all have this capability, if only our thinking allows it to be so.

‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond imagination. It is our light more than our darkness which scares us. We ask ourselves – who are we to be brilliant, beautiful, talented, and fabulous. But honestly, who are you to not be so?...

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson in Return to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles

During the next two days I came to observe the reflection of: what I am comfortable with; what my body can accomplish easily; how I react when I it comes not so easily; what happens when I get a little scared; and ultimately began to unravel my body-image-ability stories. I discovered I have a lot of stories, particularly those around situations that push my edge of discomfort into fear (when my mental mind knows there is no need and expects differently). Now I begin to move forward into an ever-so-slightly shifted relationship about myself with the tools of laughter and curiosity to soften my expectations, my fears, and dissolve the stagnating stories, from here a wellspring of strength flows.