To believe that yoga is just for the body is to miss a world of experience and pleasure; an opportunity to process emotions, burn off mental anxiety or to enjoy the freedom of mindlessness… says Fierce Grace founder Michele Pernetta:
“In my years of observing practitioners go through the myriad of feelings, thoughts and sensations that arise in their yoga practice, I have come to this conclusion:
Alpha types, high achievers and the very fit, often like to ram and cram, push, confront, struggle and strain, and they tend to avoid any ‘softer’ more internal classes, that might get them in touch with how they feel. If this is you, those are the classes you need occasionally – to balance you and connect you with the parts of yourself you are out of touch with and actively avoiding!
Although having a lot of energy and willpower is wonderful, if you only practice this way you could become insensitive, disconnected from your feelings, angry and hard, and tire out your nervous system.
On the other hand, unfit, lazy or weak people whose energy may be low, tend to be attracted to easier, softer classes, where they can carry on resting, not engaging their force, and not risking confrontation with anything uncomfortable or demanding.
But if this is your tendency, you actually need to go into the uncomfortable, disciplined or challenging classes to balance yourself and develop your male energy, get fitter and develop your willpower and strengthen your nervous system. If you never challenge yourself you could end up getting weaker, overweight, and unable to meet life’s challenges with the feeling you have a strong ‘backbone’.
I was so alpha that any soft class, with breath or ‘going within’ used to make me impatient and angry. If that’s you, get into what that actually is – isn’t it interesting?! Your fire is looking for things to burn, but it may just burn you if you aren’t mindful of it.
More sensitive types can find challenge upsetting and frightening, they close down, ‘feel sick’, get too hot, leave the room, make excuses. Look at this refusal to accept the challenge of life. Be patient with yourself, but don’t succumb to this weakness. Life will not treat you gently so you may as well confront some difficulty and work on getting stronger in the safety of a yoga class.”
So go out of your comfort zone a little and get curious about the things you avoid, they might be what could balance you!