In my yoga class last night, I noticed a familiar inner dialogue that was in opposition to the teacher; her voice, her tone, her instruction, and her adjustments…just not exactly the way I like it. I kept thinking I would kindly ask her not to touch me, that I would tell her that I know my body and I’m doing what feels best for me.

I’ve been practicing yoga for 20 years, my inner dialogue pointed out, I know what I’m doing. I don’t need to follow her instruction if it doesn’t work or feel good for me.

At the same time, I came to this yoga class to support myself in breathing more fully, to help my body find new alignment and extension, and to receive help accessing a state of total release of effort and struggle.

My pushback against the class and the teacher crescendoed and then somehow my resistance softened. I gave up and allowed her instruction to guide me. I relaxed into the flow of the class. At the end, she gave me an amazing adjustment in savasana and I was overcome with gratitude for the same woman I had just been in such deep opposition to.

Even after all these years, I continue to have new respect for the practice/tradition of yoga, for the teachers that offer me this chance to struggle against myself, my body, the practice, my reality…and the opportunity to surrender to it and accept the peace and relaxation. The whole process just works for me, it always has. I’ve had times where it’s easier to let go of the opposition and also times where I just couldn’t let go at all. Yoga is always there, always different, always the same.

I’m so grateful for my stubbornness, my instinct to carve my own path over being told what to do and how to do it has both saved and served me well. I trust my self and my body over everything outside of me and that is a hard won miracle, but I can also find safety, relaxation and restoration in knowing how to let the love in and accept the help that is right in front of me in every moment should I choose it.

Jonathan Fink
Yoga is, and has been, a river rushing through the granite walls of my stubborn will for all these years, smoothing my edges and consistently offering up its medicine of using the flow of my breath with my movements to soften, open and allow. I’m always so grateful for the relief and the peace waiting on the other side of the practice.

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