…and Other Tales of Spiritual Abundance” is the name of yet another book that I’m writing and have been writing for, well, several years (which, if you haven’t figured out by now, is a common refrain with me). ARG! If I didn’t have so much dang writing to do for large corporations, I might actually get a book or two finished and pushed out into the world once in a while….excuses…excuses…
Chubby Yoga and Other Tales of Spiritual Abundance chronicles my exploration of Hatha yoga and the often funny things that have happened in my quest for transcendence. The book also explores the importance of modifying poses (which I dislike having to do), being patient (which I’m not), being fully present (which is really hard for me), and giving myself permission to be less than perfect (which makes me cringe to even type).
Why modify poses?
Chubby or not, many of us have to modify at least some yoga poses to accommodate various aspects of our physiology, whether due to injury, body type, flexibility, health-level, etc. So, it occurred to me that modifying poses in yoga is a perfect metaphor for, well, the rest of life.
Learning to modify one’s poses means easing up and relaxing, being more patient with ourselves. It’s a declaration of protection for oneself, because it means that instead of crashing into daily experience, pushing ourselves to do more than we are capable, and doping ourselves with constant stress, we learn how to ease into living (or a stretch). We pull back, just a little, and we save some for later. In mastering this, we send a clear message to the body that we are not here to dominate or control or change her, but to work with her, to learn greater acceptance, to generate appreciation and even love for her, to listen instead of talk. The same goes for other areas of our lives. (Oi vey! Am I ever in trouble!)
It is said that one teaches what one most needs to learn, so yeah, this is a biggie for me. Modifying poses (and not just in yoga) is a practice that I want to embrace. Fully. And, as you can guess, it’s difficult because I’m so used to being so very physical. I’m strong and bold and have never met a physical task that I couldn’t do. I have never met something that I cannot explain or lift or at least move enough to solve a problem, like the Volkswagen beetle that I literally picked up one end of and moved (with my friend Brian) because the owner had blocked my car in while we were hanging out in Laguna Beach one night. But, that’s a story for another post.
I am just larger than life and very capable of physical feats of strength. I’m just used to being able to do or figure out anything that I want, from bungee jumping to racing motorcycles to shingling a roof to writing about integrated circuits and other physics-laden topics. Pulling back is hard for me. Modifying poses is hard for me. But, it’s necessary to my expansion and I argue the rest of humanity’s, too.
You all know that I believe we humans, in general, must develop a much more open channel with our bodies, but I also see a benefit to doing this in all facets of our lives–be it marriage/partnership, child-rearing, spirituality, relaxation, career, and so on. If we are to gain the body’s trust and develop greater self respect, we have to learn how to be good to our bodies, to ease up, to modify our approaches and practices. Once we learn how to do this with the self, we can then apply it to our other relationships. For, without self love, there is no real love.
Pulling back instead of pushing deeper is sometimes the very thing that our bodies (or relationships) most need. Not holding a pose (or a stance or an argument) for longer than necessary is sometimes the order that we must heed. Dropping one’s defenses and being vulnerable might be the best way to solve a dispute with another person. Admitting that you are afraid and not feeling capable, might be the turning point to greater awareness, understanding, and change inside of yourself or your marriage.
We so clearly know that domination (of the self, earth, or others) is not working. Domination is not a healthy model for humanity and has not gotten us what we really want, which is spiritual connection, love, peace, forgiveness, patience, and understanding. Negating the body or other people has not served our greatest good. It’s time to question those behaviors, push through (or go around) them, and learn to lighten up. Pulling back on a viewpoint or a pose might be the very thing that helps us transcend the ordinary and achieve the greatest expansion that we have ever known. I want to try it. Are you with me? I’ll be out on the deck in a modified down-dog if you need me.
All my love and light to you, friends. ~BigLizzy
- Yoga For the Body Disconnected (amentalhealthhack.wordpress.com)
- Why You Should Take Yoga if You’re Plus Sized. (elephantjournal.com)