I once had a friend tell me that teaching yoga was not a “real job.” I was, at the time, working 40+ hours a week managing a yoga studio and teaching full-time, so it sure felt like real job to me. When she said this to me, I had been contemplating going back to the stability and steadiness a corporate job provides. Money was tight and I had bills to pay. She thought “my break” in the yoga world would keep me from building a resume employers were seeking.
After Noah was born, I spent many sleepless nights and sleep deprived days dreaming of the time when I’d be able to get back to my routine, my yoga mat and teaching. I vividly recall during one late night feeding session being struck by a moment of inspiration, hearing a voice inside me say “you’re going upside down in 2015!” I thought this was in reference to my asana practice, but it turned out to be so much more.
If you know me than you know that inversions are my arch nemesis—and given this insight came to me in what I thought was a moment of clarity, it was a huge leap for me. I was so excited to go upside down, that I pushed myself before I was ready. In my plight to get back to normality (whatever that means) I felt as though I was somehow stronger for having gone through a difficult pregnancy and a long, exhausting, slightly traumatic birth experience and going upside down was happening. In many ways, I am stronger, but that has nothing to do with going upside down—well, not physically anyway.
The truth is that my whole world has been upside down since the moment I found out I was pregnant. But the arrival of my sweet little boy really threw things in to overdrive.
It’s not that I was going upside down in 2015, but that I was going to get myself right side up instead.
This is one of my favorite sequences. It is more active and great for the whole body, so those without tummy concerns can benefit too. Go slow and move at your own pace. Remember to keep the breath slow and steady. Stretch the hips, open the chest and twist the body in order to stimulate digestion and keep things moving in the right direction.
“When you have fortitude, you stand supreme under any conditions.”
-Sri Dharma Mittra
By definition, fortitude is having courage even in the face of diversity.
I like to apply this sentiment when teaching classes, especially when it comes to long holds or challenging poses. Some people may try to leave a pose when it becomes uncomfortable or it’s something they don’t want to try. I know, I’ve been there. When I first started practicing yoga, I would find reasons to leave the room when I wanted to avoid the challenging stuff. I don’t do that any more. Now, I’m all in.
The practice of yoga teaches us to remain calm even when times get tough. We learn how to navigate stressful situations, remain focused, and stay committed to an end goal. This is tapas, one of the niyamas of yoga, meaning austerity, commitment and self-discipline. Fortitude is essential to increase your tapas, so that when things fall apart or become challenging, you can move through them with ease, grace, and steadiness. [Read more…]