The physical practice of yoga has given me an incredible amount of tools I use off my mat. This series is a place to share those! I'd love to hear about your stories too! #comments
The work you do on your mat facilitates your whole life - Baron Baptiste
I was on my mat, practicing a sweaty 90 minute yoga class, thinking about the foundation of my poses. Foundation is hands, core, feet, they work together to support each other. In most of my poses, my hands or feet were engaged but surprise surprise not my core. In fact I mostly avoid using my core in any pose, including core work (don't try this at home, you will strain your neck.)
I started observing my body outside of yoga, to see if I was using other muscles to hold me upright. Sure enough when I drive I use my seat back to hold my back up right, when I wash dishes I lean against the sink, even now I am propped up against the couch using no core at all.
This could be an easy fix, just start using my core in my practice and in my life. Well sure, I definitely need to do that but I am willing to bet if my body isn't using it's core, my soul isn't either.
You know the saying "gut feeling" I think it's used because our guts are our core, the foundation we live on. I have principles: honesty, respect, love, humility... I build all my relationships on them, I shape my home with them, I use them in my teaching and in my writing. They are the foundation of my life but somewhere along the way, somehow, sometimes I throw my principles out the window, I start to slouch, I stop using my core. And when that happens, I start to blame everyone else and everything else for my problems.
Here's the thing, on or off my mat I am accountable for EVERY SINGLE THING IN MY LIFE. I am accountable for the fact that Comcast continues to charge us $30 more on our bill and won't change it not matter how hard Cale persists (because I am too scared to try). I am accountable when my brother says something silly and I get mad about his OPINION (it is HIS). I am accountable when someone takes what I say the wrong way and feels judged by me and I am accountable when I feel judged by someone else. I am accountable for every action I take, and every action I don't take on AND off my mat.
I am building a life, in a house and in the world, when there is a crack in the foundation, or air coming through the floor boards, I need to look at it and figure out what it needs. When there is a strain in my life, same thing. I could easily walk around blaming my house for being old and my friends and family for being bad, that's what's wrong. But blaming the house, the people, blaming my core for being weak doesn't change anything. I see two options: continue to blame and get a new house and new friends all the time because I am searching for something with no cracks, no flaws, and no problems OR take responsibility, see how I am accountable and make a change.
If I want a stronger practice, there is no more putting the work on my hands and my legs, there is no more leaning against something to stay up, there is just good old fashioned work. Work I am willing to do because I have a feeling that by taking responsibility in one area of my life, I will have the power to take it in every area!