What Our Strength Looks Like

“Modern context glorifies extreme range of motion.”

There are many images of beautiful skinny young (more or less) women in somewhat impossible yoga poses out there.   Those image portfolios get followers.  Thousands, millions, I hear.  

Then there are thoughtful highly evolved individuals who are compelled to alert their audiences to the misguidedness and dangers of the situation.  Such as the opening sentence about the modern context.

I am not being all that sarcastic here.  Most of the people having a thing or two to say about “instagram yoga” have been thoughtful and highly evolved.  In my experience.  No, really, take a look at this project by one of the most enlightened people walking the earth today.

Most of them have been men.  In my experience.

I get it.  The exclusivity.  The pitfalls for the beholder.  Some 10-15 years ago, I had on my wall a picture from a Yoga Journal Calendar: a thin woman in blue, in an effortless  scorpion pose, against a serene blue background.  I don’t have the picture anymore.  I have the longing to touch my head with my toes.  While bending backwards.  While balancing on my arms.  Effortlessly.  Which is not the point.  I get it.

There are also pitfalls for the beheld.  Which brings me to my point.

Some of us have grown up feeling like failures at anything physical.  Our limber bodies bruise and get hurt easily when we run around kicking or flinging objects.  Our tiny frames refuse to grow enough muscle to lift much or to through far.  Our loose joints lack focus needed for fast running, jumping, or bicycling.  Our little lungs and tiny shoulders don’t carry us fast in the water.  What is he source of enjoyment for others, for us is the source of embarrassment, stress, anxiety.  We are weak.

Then we discover yoga and that fact that we can touch our toes with our fingers or our ears or whatever body part is suddenly sort of cool.  Then we learn stability – slowly, patiently, mindfully.  We build the muscle, not much, enough to hold our own body weight.  We feel strong.  We feel calm and balanced.  We feel powerful.

Going back to those images… Maybe they glorify the extremes.  Not more so than say your professional sports do.  Maybe they are a symptom and cause of a bit of misguidedness.  Who has not wandered off any path worth walking?

If we have to talk about the digressions, let’s also consider this:

Those images are what our strength looks like.

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