Lessons From The Mat: Episode 2

Life Lesson: Strength with yielding

In yoga you will find many poses that require a certain amount of strength. Poses that require our muscles to engage and hold our bones in certain angles and positions. You feel that fire and heat build the longer you are in said pose. Hurts so good, right?

But what about those poses that require the same amount of strength but also lengthening and yielding? Take utkatasana, or chair pose, as an example. It takes strength to hold our body in a squat position, weight in the heels, but it also requires you to lengthen your spine and lift your chest with ease. It takes strength to pull your shoulders away from your ears and down your back, but also lengthen your arms up above your head with ease. This pose epitomizes the idea of using strength with yielding together. And it’s not the only time you use this concept in your yoga flow.

So, you can see where I am going with this, right? Can this concept of strength and yielding be applied to our daily lives? If strength and the ability to yield can come together to create the ultimate mind and body refining workout, think how they can come together to refine our lives. We need strength. We have to be strong through trying times and sometimes for our loved ones. We need strength to withstand our bodily appetites and desires and strength to overcome our fears and insecurities.

Yielding means being comfortable amidst the discomfort.

But I started wondering, how much better off would we be if we learned to use our strength with yielding? Yielding implies that we are open to change, that we are open to possibilities. It means looking at our situations with an open awareness and making room for the unexpected. There are so many lessons to be learned through our trials and hard times of life, and sometimes it’s not the lessons that we think it is.

Yielding can also mean being comfortable amidst the discomfort. Any yogi will tell you that being in chair pose for a lengthy period of time is not comfortable. But it’s strengthening your body. I would add that it’s also strengthening your mind, because to find length, peace and ease while being uncomfortable is a great feat, indeed. And we need the ability to be comfortable amidst the discomfort in daily life way more than we need it on the yoga mat.

Strength can sometimes become resistance. And resistance can make us rigid. But resistance and rigidity are not what we need to survive. Allowing ourselves to yield can keep our strength a true strength and then make room for ease and awareness. And besides, life isn’t about surviving, it’s about living! And we can, amazingly enough, still live life to the fullest during trials and darker moments. We do that by using our strength and our ability to yield.

You could say it’s almost like surrender, but I don’t really like the word surrender in this instance, because that implies that you are giving up and yielding is not giving up. It’s the opposite. It’s fighting for what you need or believe, but doing so with grace and an open awareness to yourself and your surroundings. It’s being ready to learn and grow in any way possible. And it’s finding moments of comfort in uncomfortable times.

Another great example of how rolling out your yoga mat can influence your whole life for the better. So here’s a challenge. Are there any areas of your life that you can apply this concept? If there are, give it a try and see if it changes you and makes your strength stronger.

#lifelessons #yoga #strength #mindfulliving #bestself #practice