Monday, October 21, 2013

What "stories" are you holding onto?

TODAY: 2pm - Yoga Vida  
666 Broadway @ Bond Street


We all have our stories. "I'm a morning person." "I'm NOT a winter person."  "I'm so bad with numbers." We are so good at telling these stories about ourselves that we make them sound factual- just as factual as our blood type or our mother's maiden name. "I've got blue eyes, narrow feet, and I'm shy. This is just how I am." 

We create them, we identify with them, and then we become them. Our jobs, our friends, our hobbies, our city of residence, our ways of interacting with others. These are impermanent states of being that we mistake for our true selves, that part of us which never changes. What if we could see these "facts" about our personalities and our preferences for what they really are: just stories that we made up and repeated so many times that eventually we believed they were true? What space would that give us for self-awareness, growth, and evolution? 

In the past decade I have had my own personal Mahabharata of stories about myself. Let's just say, I've given lots of "traits" a try and have left many, many undesirable traits in the past. I've changed my lifestyle. I've changed my profession. I've changed my marital status. I've changed! Now that I have some space around these changes, I can see that ALL the stories I've made up about myself are completely fluid. I am not any particular way unless I say I am. 

And yet there are still stories I'm holding onto. I'm holding them tight in my mind and feel them lingering down into my bones. And I bet you're like me.  Human. You've experienced your ability to change in many arenas of your life but a few bad mornings in high school created the story "I'm not a morning person," and now you're 32 and constantly late to early meetings. Can you let that story go too? 

This year and at this very moment, I am consciously working through and erasing all my stories so that I can start fresh with an exciting, fulfilling, and inspiring new chapter of my life. I am not saying it's a perfectly happy and stress-free time. I am being way too honest about myself and taking way too bold of risks for this period to be that easy. Usually, you have to push yourself past comfortability to move through barriers, open yourself up to bigger possibilities, and find the courage to do away with everything that no longer serves you. It's kinda like being a writer. The hardest part is making yourself sit down and do the work but once you're at the desk, the words just flow. You just have to get your hands on the keyboard which is a heckuva lot easier said than done. 

In addition to the mental and emotional rewriting that comes along with debunking our myths, the body also needs some rearranging. Stress, anxiety and depression are directly connected to our hormonal system and their manifestations are as much physical as they are mental. The asana practice gives our body an opportunity to ring itself out, create space in the joints, and get ready to receive new input. We see our flexibility and strength build as we work through the postures. Twisting, foreward bending, inverting. Constricting and  reeasing. Moments of intensity that force our bodies to release the old "stuff" and make way for the new. Fresh oxygen, fresh nourishing food, fresh blood pumping through our veins. Moments of relaxation that allow this new input to be processed. The only way for new "us's" to appear is by deleting the old "us" who only liked mornings, was shy, and didn't like Winter from our manuscript. Becoming a clean slate. 

Today in class we will question our stories and select one or two that we no longer want to tell. We'll tear that page out of our notebooks, fold it into a paper airplane, and send it out the window. What are you holding onto that is making your hero's journey less heroic than it ought to be? What if you stopped being a morning person and became an all the time person? What if you stopped being a summer person and started being a year-round person? Can you even imagine? I'm not there yet but it sounds damn good. Come, let's workshop it together.