what is your story?
I once heard a health professional say that their job as a healer was to take someone out of their story; to give that person a chance to ‘stand a little taller’ without the weight of their past on their shoulders.
Although it sounded curious at first, it eventually resonated with me as a way to interpret a rewarding yoga practice. On your mat you have the opportunity to be someone else. Literally. You have a chance to remove yourself from a story that binds you to timidity, to fear, to the need to control, or to past burdens.
To remove yourself from your story means stepping onto your mat and choosing courage over fear in every moment, in every asana, in the very act of living.
Kids do this best—they use their yoga practice as a stage to perform and create something new. They create with their bodies something novel, something inspirational. Asking children to perform “Downward Facing Doggie” immediately leads to wagging tails and barking voices.
My little cousin Emily especially loves to be on her hands and knees, meowing loudly like a kitty as she stretches her spine and her smile in Cat/Cow. Her giggles are infectious. She naturally uses the illustration of her body to write herself into a new story.
As adults, we often allow outside pressures to write our story. We willingly bring onto the mat pressures from work, family-related stresses, or latent memories of past failures that dislodge from our practice our sense of the present. These memories stored in our bodies and in our hearts dictate the emotional energy we communicate in each pose. However, in yoga practice, we can write a new ending to an old story. There is no place for timidity in Virabhadrasana B, so we instead choose boldness in our stance.
In Bakasana, we trust our hands to be our foundation, an extraordinary act of bravery. In Sirsasana, we turn our world upside down and dare to see life from a brand new direction, despite the fear that arises from giving up control. We carve out a new story in which we are the valorous, strong, content, and creative person we’ve always wanted to be.
We have a chance to stand a little taller, walk a little stronger, live a little healthier, and have a little more fun in life than our old story may have allowed. Our yoga mats are the manuscripts, our bodies the instruments, our lives the admirable stories.
I look forward to reading your story.