a word about strength

strength builds when belief is present.
in the absence of believe, strength dwindles into shaky doubt.

last night a beloved teacher of my studio taught an hour and a half vinyasa class. i showed up early, struggling to find peace of mind. my body lacked energy and the thought of spending ninety minutes practicing yoga sounded unappealing.

bodies quickly filed in to fill the room. inches separated me from other yogis on mats. one of my friends told me the woman at the front desk turned the late arrivals away, claiming excess.

our collective body heat steamed up the windows as we OMed in unison. the buzz swarmed me, sunk itself into my heart and head. breathing in a space holding so many lungs changes my awareness. a type of self-consciousness creeps in, one i rarely find present in less occupied classes. i spent most of the class combatting the urge to tell my self i was not good enough, not strong enough, not able to accomplish much.

though moments of clarity arrived, overall the feel of the class sucked the faith in my strength out of me. tears leaked out of the sides of my eyes and buried themselves into my hair as the lights dimmed overhead for savasana. on my back, i witnessed the myriad thoughts pulsing dimly beneath my skull:

how can i teach? how will i ever be good enough? i can’t even do anything well. do i even know how to do these poses? i am not strong enough. i am not strong enough. i will never be strong enough.

this type of chatter stems from doubt, from the loss of faith in personal ability and personal strength. because the reality is, i am strong enough. you are strong enough. but sometimes our lenses color themselves negatively and the process turns bitter instead of joyous.

after class all those bodies communed in the entry way, chattering, yammering, smiling, laughing, hugging. there is so much peace and love and beauty following a yoga class. i walked out unsteady, uncertain, and mildly sad. the throng of people generating connections was temporarily lost on me. i was stuck in such a self-created daze of pity and questioning.

then i found my friends talking.

they both turned to me and immediately threw these unexpected bits of compliment and wisdom in my direction.

one friend said, “we were just talking about how awesome your jump forward is.”

the other said, so beautifully,
“you are so strong, you just don’t believe it. you have to own it. but you are, you are strong. you inspire me.”

my heart leapt up from the ground. i knew she was right. i am strong. the belief in that strength slipped out from under me momentarily. hearing my friend say this to me knocked the doubt out of my heart. i embraced her words, allowed them to fill me up once more with faith in my process.

very frequently i hear people dismiss compliments. i listen to these truly talented people refuse to take such sweet comments to their hearts. i particularly see this phenomenon happen in women. we are never good enough to accept that we are good enough. i am never strong enough to accept just how damn strong i am. but we always are, aren’t we? good enough, strong enough. the people who love you are not feeding you bullshit —they are reflecting back to you a piece of who you are.

today, i attempted pincha mayurasana in my home practice with the aid of a strap and a block. and wouldn’t you know it? i floated straight up and held that sucker for a few seconds before gravity pulled me down.

how is that for not strong enough?

strength is as much of a state of mind as it is a state of physicality. remember that.



This entry was published on November 19, 2013 at 4:12 pm. It’s filed under free write, happy life, life, life lessons, personal stories, personhood, photography, words, writing, yoga and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “a word about strength

  1. haha! YES! ….also…you did a pinca?! holy eff, i KNOW how you feel about that pose!

    • hahaha right?! i FREAKED out and texted rebecca immediately haha. don’t know if there will be a repeat but the change in strength has totally appeared, if only momentarily! it’s nuts the difference between now and when sheri taught us.

  2. Stephanie on said:

    Speaking of bodies — I stumbled upon this article and it seemed like a great follow-up to the last post I commented on about compliments or ‘nonpliments’ as this author put it: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/11/ally-fat-people-lost-weight/. Also, very, very cool about the forearm stand. I’m still working on not toppling over on the kick-up.

    • thanks stephanie!

      i also still topple over! it’s hard to find the right amount of strength, balance, and control to kick up without doing so! but the use of a block and a strap are monumentally helpful in finding that more easily, i really recommend it!!

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