“Chubby Yoga…

…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…

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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!)

yoga_buddha

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.

Amitabha Stupas in Sedona

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

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17 thoughts on ““Chubby Yoga…

  1. mariner2mother

    *Goosebumps!* I know what you mean about pulling back. As I was reading and you first wrote those words “pulling back”, the first thing that popped into my head was there is a part of you that equates pulling back with not fully shining your light, or perhaps with giving in. But you do know that’s not really so.

    I have had situations where I’ve pushed and pushed, tried and tried, and then I remembered that the energy I put out attracts more of the same (resistance). As soon as I slacked off and let go, things happened. It’s a bit of law of attraction with “what you resist, persists” type of stuff.

    Great analogy of modifying yoga poses. At the core of all of it, for sure, is loving ourselves.

    Reply
    1. BigLizzy Post author

      Mariner, YOU are the best person. I mean it. I’m so beaming at your response here, babe. YOU TOTALLY GET IT!! Exactly. It does seem counter-intuitive to pull back and let the moment slip away from you, at least, it does for “drivers” such as myself, but it’s so interesting when we do this. When we ease up, we change the story; it might seem like we are placing a bucket over our light, but we’re not. We are conserving our light, momentarily. You get it completely and are so wise to attribute this to Law of Attraction. That is absolutely right. What you resist, persists. It’s so true. What you turn your attention to, steps forward and not only embraces you, it enters you. Good or bad, it comes running back to its mommy, the creator. What we imbue with emotion and thought becomes our daily reality. This is why yoga is so good for us because yoga asks us, gently, to pay attention and be present. I love you, sissy. I do. What a remarkable woman you are, babe. XOXO

      Reply
      1. mariner2mother

        You tickle me (giggle)! One thing that also came to mind was the very basic of basics of Matrix Energetics (a totally rocking consciousness technology): you drop down into your heart space, set a clear intention, wait until you feel something shift (it could be any shift at all), and then set it free to let the universal wisdom do it’s thing. Usually the universe, or God, brings outcomes that are way beyond what we would ever imagine. Even though this is the very beginning and heart of Matrix Energetics, it can move mountains.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPlDrXNOuJo This video is a great overview of Matrix Energetics. I’ve been to a weekend workshop and found it amazing! But then again, I’m a mix of science geek and student of intuition and spirituality.

      2. BigLizzy Post author

        Mariner-mama, I soooo cannot wait to try this! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH for letting me know about Matrix Energetics. I have not heard of this before so I’m super excited to dig in and check it out. And, your definition of yourself as a science geek and student of intuition and spirituality is so right where I live, too. I love it. That’s a perfect description. Hugs to you, my sissy. And, thanks again for this awesome info. 🙂

  2. Kaycers

    I hope you publish this book. I want to read it! I will say from my own experience, I too hate modifying, but I find that on any given day it varies. Sometimes my MOOD even effects my asanas! I can do a perfectly awesome plow one day and the next day it hurts my back BIG time. What’s the difference? Maybe I’m cranky. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten so much at lunch? Maybe my body is just stubborn? haha. But seriously, I dig your insights! Keep it up!! ❤
    Namaste,
    K

    Reply
    1. BigLizzy Post author

      Kaycers, Hoh-my-gosh! TOTALLY! I know exactly, exactly, exactly what you mean, sweetie. LOVE WHAT YOU WROTE HERE! It sounds like you and I are totally aligned on this. For me, I love the journey inside of yoga as a metaphor for what’s going on with the self. It’s all of the stuff that happens while one practices that is the practice, not just the poses. Like you say: one day a pose is PERFECT and you feel it and love that while the next day the same pose hurts your back and you begin analyzing why. That inner work, the inner dialogue with the self, the thinking about it, and teaching the self to suspend thought and simply be in the moment, with the body, in presence, is the practice; THAT is the journey. It’s all of the realizations, reactions, and inner responses that I have while doing the asanas that I find so very precious and life-changing. Often, I will simply start crying because my heart chakra is so open and so full of universe. I seriously stand there for a minute weeping quietly. It’s awkward in classes, but I go with it, because as a Pisces, I cannot hold it in. LOL! So, the times when I “get” that I’m pushing myself too far (in a pose and in life) and I react by easing up, at which my body just rejoices, are the best times! I love you, sis. Thank you for reading and commenting. I was so hoping you would jump into the conversation. XOXO

      Reply
      1. Kaycers

        I love this response! It totally clicks! I like that you brought in your Sun Sign. I am a Scorpio, so I tend to “sting” myself and push too hard. That’s part of my inner work though, letting go, not judging myself and others and being so competitive. I am hoping to become a certified instructor someday. I am a reiki practitioner and tarot reader and I think the three make a life changing combination! I am ALL about empowerment (especially with feminine energy!) I’m glad to have you as a blog buddy!!!!

      2. BigLizzy Post author

        Awwww…Kaycers, my sweet Scorpio-sissy. I sooooo get you, honey. Isn’t it interesting that if you study the various metaphysical systems long enough you do find total parallels in your own being and wiring? I just love that. I have a good friend who is a Scorpio and sometimes she stings me, you know, me, the sweet, soft-under-belly-fish. We have to carefully navigate our conversations sometimes, but I know that it’s not really personal; it’s just that she and I process things differently. I love that you are hoping to get certified as an instructor. Right on! PLEASE MOVE HERE! No, seriously, dude. Move here. 🙂 You sound like and feel like such a soul-sister. I am so glad that we found each other and look forward to lots of fun with you. Hugs to you!

  3. Allison Epstein

    I love this so much! I know exactly what you mean about hating to modify poses; for so long I would push myself beyond where I was really supposed to be in yoga practices because I wanted to be that girl. You know, the girl who can whip her foot up behind her head while simultaneously making a kale smoothie or something. It takes strength and flexibility to push yourself beyond your limits, but it takes more strength and flexibility to realize what your body actually is asking for and trust it enough to figure it knows what it’s doing. And you’re so right, that applies to so much!
    Unrelated side note, but I love love love how you refer to your body as “she.” It made it feel so personal, intimate… And it made me wonder why I constantly refer to my body as an inanimate object? Things to ponder…
    As always, fantastic post, and I’d love to hear the story of you lifting a VW Beetle when you’ve got the time 🙂

    Reply
    1. BigLizzy Post author

      Hi, Allison-babe, Sounds like you and I are carbon-copies. I am laughing so hard at what you wrote, mama!! Buuuwhwhwhahahaha! Whipping her foot up behind her head while making a kale smoothie….rolling on the floor…laugh…gasp…choke! You are adorable and funny and so right on. I love your insights here about trusting that your body knows what she is doing. Our bodies do know what they are doing. They just don’t always happen to agree with us and our choices. Thank you for reading and commenting and for letting me know how you love that I refer to my body as a she. I have always felt her distinct personality and presence and it is unique compared to the way that my soul feels. I think of the body as a partner, one who has her own agenda and timeline and, well, consciousness. It just never felt right to me to call my body an “it”. Thanks for the laugh, sis. And, thanks for being here. Hugs and kisses!

      Reply
    2. BigLizzy Post author

      Oh, Allison, I’ll be sure to do a blog post about lifting the VW Beetle, because, it’s a funny story and well, I still can’t quite believe that I was able to do it. Of course, I was a body-builder at the time and routinely benching like 190 pounds. So, my muscles were huge and dense. But, still. Just the two of us lifted a fricken car. It was so weird. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Kaycers

    Allison, I agree with what you said about Liz using “she” to refer to her body. It makes me think of the Goddesses I admire in various mythologies. Why can’t our bodies be viewed as Goddesses? Hehehe

    Reply
    1. BigLizzy Post author

      Here, here! YES! We are Goddesses. I tell every woman I meet that she is beautiful. I just love seeing the delight on a perfect stranger’s face when I compliment them; it’s super fun. I figure that if I say it often enough to enough women, the trend will grow and then other women will do it for other women and then eventually everyone will know that they are Goddesses and that their bodies are instruments of the divine. I can’t wait for that day. XOXO

      Reply
  5. Laura P. Schulman

    Love this! You really GET the heart of Yoga: chilling out and working with what we have, no, not working, BEING who we are. That’s it. Yes, stretching, because that’s the point, isn’t it, to s-t-r-e-t-c-h just a little bit beyond our known boundaries, to discover that we are….bigger….than we thought we might be?

    Reply
    1. BigLizzy Post author

      Hi, Laura,

      You put this so, aptly and so perfectly. That’s exactly the point of yoga and the freedom of yoga. I have to remind myself of this all of the time, but it’s a great, far-reaching dialog to have with my body and being. Yoga reminds me to take it easy, stretch, and hold back in other areas of life when I am pushing too hard and being too analytical or ego. I love yoga so, so much. You totally get this. 🙂

      Reply
  6. love

    So true, so so true. I am with you here. Self love is the key to everything I reckon, without it, ughhh things are hideous, but so many of us lack it. Hurray to empowered and self loving women like us who can encourage others on the road to self love. It’s all about love.

    Reply
    1. BigLizzy Post author

      Shelley-honey! Thanks for reading this post, too. You so get it, my sweet friend, hence, the word “love” in your blog/screen name. 🙂 I’m very, very glad that we found each other in the blogasphere. And, it’s so refreshing to know that I’m not alone in the body-loving department, my adorable friend. Love is our core and when we do not choose to love, whether it be an outside or inside circumstance, it’s very harmful to us and the larger world. The body is one small piece in the human consciousness/soul equation, but without a love for the body, I feel like humanity cannot move to the higher realms and expand fully; so, this is where I live right now. My goal, of course, is to help people move past body obsession, whether positive or negative, so they can access the higher frequencies required for greater expansion as souls (whatever that happens to look like). You rock, sis. Thank you so much for sharing your light with the world. You help so many people. XOXO

      Reply

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