I’m not sure why, but I woke up this morning with a very strong feeling about reposting this, from June 2010, today. So, I’m trusting the feeling. Maybe I need it. Maybe you need it. All I know is, I’m lifting my heart, and I’m smiling.
A few weeks ago, I was at my yoga class, creaking and cramping my way valiantly through. I was getting a bit disheartened, and thinking how glad the rest of the class must have been when I joined because I was living proof that they were better at yoga than (a) they thought (b) me. (Yes, yes, we all know that yoga is about what your body can do today and it’s not competitive…. but I’m sure it takes at least twenty years of practice before you mean that, rather than just say it.)
So. I was struggling. There are things that my body just can’t do at the moment: my spine is more or less locked solid from shoulder blades to waist; my hamstrings are getting stronger but still aren’t what they could (will) be; my arms are weak, especially the post-PICC left one.
One transition in particular, though, everyone was finding tricky. Our teacher watched us for a while, thudding and galumphing on our mats as we more-or-less managed the physical actions, but in a way that would make even the most zen of teachers weep. She stopped us, and demonstrated, talking us slowly through each movement as she did it, explaining what was happening in her joints and muscles. At one point, we needed to make space to move one foot to between our hands. “If you are struggling,” said Lisa, “Lift up your heart”.
Of course, what she was trying to get us to do was the widen our shoulders, stretch our necks, keep our spines long. As a physical instruction, it worked well.
But this instruction worked, for me, in a much bigger way. (It’s not the first time yoga has had an emotional as well as a physical effect.) During a break in a difficult meeting a couple of weeks later, I said to myself, “When you are struggling, lift up your heart.’ I walked back in straighter and stronger. When I’m tired or not feeling up to much, I remember my teacher’s words, and I think of my heart, and I think of it lifting, and I find it impossible not to take a deep breath and smile. (I’m writing this on a train and I did it just now. I’m grinning like an idiot.)
So. Another example of the power of words. I offer this phrase to you and invite you to take it and use it if it speaks to you too.
When you are struggling, lift up your heart.