Monday, January 26, 2009


One homework assignment for our yoga training this weekend was to create a pranayama script, which is simply guiding someone through a breathing meditation. I opted to work on the exercise that is the most challenging for me, nadi shudi. This is alternate nostril breathing, and I always seem to take my first inhale through the wrong side of my nose and then proceed to get all mixed up with the alternating. We practiced our scripts on our peers yesterday, and my friend gently corrected me as I stumbled and bumbled along. Eventually, she offered a visual aid to help me understand the flow of breath in this exercise, which I gratefully accepted with a sigh of relief. My friend admitted to me (with a giggle) that she had chosen a simpler exercise to script, taking the easy way out of the assignment. I nodded in understanding.

"There is a tendency for each of us to gravitate toward what comes easiest and avoid the areas where we need the most work." --The Sevenfold Journey by Anodea Judith & Selene Vega

It's easy to get stuck in a pattern of simplicity and ease, especially during my personal yoga practice at home. I skip a pose because it's not comfortable. I hold downward dog for only 3 breaths instead of 5. Cheating my body out of challenge and depth in my practice only keeps me from growing. Yes, it's scary sometimes to try new things, but we learn about ourselves and our bodies when doing so. And think about how amazing we feel when we open up areas of discomfort with a deeper twist or extension, or balance without crashing to the floor for the first time. Countless yoga teachers have said that the poses that we dislike the most are the ones we need the most! How true, and how wise. I chose to embrace my difficulty with nadi shudi as a learning opportunity, and I gained new perspective and am much more comfortable with the process now.

How can you exercise your courage muscle today?

Choose love. Choose challenge.

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