There is a delicious yoga class, and its sweet instructor, that I like to catch whenever I can once a week. Unfortunately, it’s on Wednesday mornings and I cannot always attend. The yoga place is far from home but this instructor is worth every mile down the mountain into the city. Before each class, Laura (the perfect yogi), shares a quote, discusses something spiritual for practice or just gives a word to take into the hour and fifteen minutes. On this particular day she said that even though the class is called Gentle Flow, that there is nothing really easy about the class. Sometimes in that gentleness and slowness things get stretched and opened. Many times the only thing keeping you is returning to your breath and being aware of all the tightness in the body. She’s right. There are times I have gotten a huge workout from just the simple and slow stretches.
I have thought about her teaching for some time. I am always saying to folks, “Be gentle with yourself.” This doesn’t mean be easy or lazy or live in a constant flow of letting go. It means be kind. Be present. Be available to release whatever comes up without having to run from it. Just like this particular class, gentleness has a way of tapping into the most intense parts of our psyche and body. Gentleness is the essence of pull and release.
Being gentle means having consideration and softness. It means allowing things to rise and fall without pressure. Yoga is showing me parts of my body that I never recognized were tensed. I have been using muscles through these gentle movements that force me to feel deeper about how I carry my stress, emotions, and challenges. I can’t imagine taking one of those intense classes with head stands and fast pace movements. This “gentle flow” works well with where I am right now in my life.
I remember reading a quote by novelist Richard Paul Evans that said, “Sometimes its not the strength but gentleness that cracks the hardest shells.” I happen to believe this to be truth. True gentleness goes deeply into the hardest parts and opens us into who we are meant to be. These days I am moving through a different form of flow. I am embracing the middle age way of carrying myself in the mornings. There are days that my body cracks like a bowl of Rice Crispy cereal making all sorts of sounds. I am forced to be slower and kinder. And, when I speak to myself, in meditation or prayers, I am being conscious, courteous, and cordial with my higher self. I am by no means impatient during my practice. It’s about the only time that I feel the gentleness of the universe embracing me…just like in yoga.
Grace and forgiveness seem to be growing through me these days. There is delicious flow of these aspects arriving through lessons, awareness, and the beauty of accepting all parts of my imperfections.
And now you….
Allow gentleness to flow through your spirit. Don’t talk about yourself in a negative tone. Don’t complain to others about what you can and cannot do. Be kind with your words. Be available to accept defeat and continue through perseverance. You are magnificent. Recognize this greatness and stop the busyness of avoidance. This is life. Be gentle with the journey and yourself. Be the love that gently moves through your heart and onto every other person you encounter in your day.