“You are having a human experience, and part of that is experiencing the boundaries and limitations in a physical form rather than flying above it.”
– Niki Scully & Linda Star Wolf , Shamanic Mysteries of Egypt
I came to yoga in college as a runner. Thanks to genetics, I found myself to be naturally inflexible and the long distance running I did in college did little to help tight hamstrings, calves and quads. Initially, yoga was a way for me to find some more ease in my body, but eventually it became more. As my yoga practice deepened I found myself exploring poses I never thought possible and exploring the philosophical and spiritual sides of yoga on a much deeper level.
Yet through all of this deeper knowledge and exploration, I was still struggling with myself on a most basic and fundamental level. I wanted my body to do more than what it was currently capable of. I was never happy with what was, and had trouble acknowledging the advances I had made. I would see pictures in Yoga Journal and envy the women in these beautiful forward folds with their heads resting on their knees and their wrists wrapped effortlessly around their feet. For years I pushed up against my edge, and sometimes beyond it, thinking that if I could just somehow do MORE, I would be able to get there.
About three weeks ago, after struggling with an injury that wouldn’t heal, I went to see a Physical Therapist. I laid out for her my “story” as I had always known it, I was inflexible and had trouble with forward folds. She spent about 10 minutes assessing my body and as soon as she reached my hips she exclaimed “You have such a big pelvis!”. I had already known that my pelvis and my rib cage were very close together, but being a small lady, had always assumed it was because I had a short torso. No, she assured me, somewhat surprised “You have a really tall pelvis. No wonder you have trouble with forward folds! You’re trying to bend over this tall pelvis and you have just that much further to go.”
It was as if this weight I had been carrying for years (and I mean YEARS! I remember being in elementary school and failing the “fitness tests” that measured your flexibility through your ability to fold forward over a box that would measure your relative flexibility) had been suddenly lifted! You would think, as a yoga teacher and a long time student of yoga I would get this, but it felt so new to me. My body would only go so far because that’s all it could do, my bones would never allow me to go any further…and that felt so freeing! I was doing my perfect version of a forward fold and there was such a sweetness in letting go of the struggle around that and surrendering into the acceptance of the sweetness of my own body’s perfection.
As a teacher, I am privileged to stand as witness for so many people in these same journeys in their own lives and yoga practices. What has your journey been like in accepting your body as it is, in its own glorious perfection? I would love to hear your stories!