How We Can Be Powerful When We Feel Weak (Yoga Challenge: Day 2)

Arms shaking, legs wobbling and breath laboured – I went down into Child’s Pose more than ever today.

This posture is a resting place and a chance to get your breath back into rhythm. And I didn’t want to come out of it.

Many of my yoga instructors have commented on how the way we are and feel on The Mat gives us an indication of how we are in every day life. If my yoga practice reveals anything, then, it is that I am much, much too hard on myself. I have always been this way – in athletics, academia, self-study and pretty much every other aspect of my life. I rarely go into Child’s Pose during a practice unless the instructor guides us there. Today, however, I had to succumb to this posture three or four times and each time I bent my legs and put my head on the floor I could feel myself cringing with inadequacy. What’s wrong with me today? Why am I so weak?

And yet the posture felt so nice.

Lesson from Day 2

Ironically, at the end of class, the card my instructor gave me said “Strength: Be powerful in all you do.”  But, how can we be powerful when we feel so weak?

As I sat in Child’s Pose I eventually let some tenderness come in to remind me that sometimes the strongest of people are only made stronger by giving in to their weaknesses. When we humble ourselves, let ourselves rest and reach out to others for help, we are made stronger by the community and energy that surrounds us.

Otherwise, we are like the tragic hero that believes he can somehow avoid the consequences of his overestimated sense of competence. The word in Greek is hubris. In one famous story, Icarus flies too close to the Sun despite warning. Sometimes by pushing too hard to deepen each posture, I might be flying too close to the Sun.

So, I take a step back, melt into Child’s Pose and fly higher some other day.

© Meghan J. Ward, 2011.

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