It’s all about finding a balance. This is what I tell my students when they come to me saying things like:
“I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough.”
As yoga teachers, this is one of the things we hear very often. The relegation of yoga to an activity that requires flexibility above all is not a helpful one. There are broadly two types of bodies when it comes to yoga; the Strong and Inflexible (SI) and the Flexible and Unstable (FU – snigger).
I fall into the second category and I am therefore one of those who seemed predisposed to things like dance, yoga and gymnastics from a young age. It becomes clear very quickly however that how you practice yoga is important, as someone who is very mobile and flexible can easily cause themselves issues by not developing sufficient strength in the body. Are sustained standing poses your nemesis? Like me, do you hate chair pose? You are probably a flexi-lexi.
My friend Charlotte, who is also a yoga teacher is a more muscular body type, and typically has been attracted to powerful sports like running and cycling long distances. She quite literally HAS THE POWER. She is like a car on nitro. Her favourite pose is chair pose. She has worked hard and long to open her hips and hamstrings so that she has the best of both worlds!
This week I attended a rheumatology clinic in connection with the chronic pain disorder I have called fibromyalgia. Having several autoimmune conditions in my family tree the doctors have done every test in the manual for these types of conditions. All came back negative. However, after testing my joint mobility, he confirmed my hypermobility and advised that this was giving rise to, and would always give rise to the pain in my body. I am being referred to a pain management department, which is thankfully non-medical.
Sometimes mobility and flexibility go beyond what is beneficial. I will always have to work very hard at my strength and stability. There are some powerful poses that I may never achieve without risking wear on my joints. I will have to moderate my lifestyle to ensure that I do not burn out since my body is always working harder than most to keep my posture upright. Even lying down for too long will cause me enormous pain.
This may sound horrific to you if you are a person who values their ability to be physically resilient, to bounce back and have drive and energy. However, I think of myself as being the same as everyone else, in the sense that we all have our challenges to face. Finding a balance is something we all need to do; a balance between strength and flexibility, stillness and mobility, action and relaxation, external work and internal work. Wherever we are on the scale, we are all searching for the still-point that works for our mind, body and spirit.
We can’t do it all continuously and expect not to suffer pain and exhaustion. That goes for both SI and FUs! We may not be as robust as we think we are. These moments of defeat are an offering from Spirit to discover our own unique energy signature, like our energetic DNA and how to keep plugged in to Source through lifestyle in the best possible way for us.
I am not going to be ‘fighting’ my conditions or my body. Instead I will be nurturing myself within my circumstances to find that perfect balance like dancers pose on a cliff-edge. Does that sound scary to you? If so, close your eyes and feel the breeze, feel the perfect balance and don’t worry, if we start to fall, I can fly, and so can you.
What part of you needs balance right now?
To work with me on restoring your mind-body-spirit balance consider my Nourish & Restore: Elemental Goddess Retreat in December. Book now as spaces are limited!