Thursday, March 10, 2011

If You Can, You Must

posted by Melissa

"If you can, you must."
we practice @ the Sweatbox!
This is a quote that is often said by teachers in Bikram yoga classes.  I am assuming it comes from the man himself, and after reading his books, I would say that sounds about right.  I hear this phrase all through my yoga class these days, repeating in my head.  Sometimes it is inspiring, and other times I use it to beat myself up.  Five simple words.  It's up to you how you use them.  
I love that about Bikram, I love the way the class pushes us to see the best in ourselves, to see what we are truly capable of.  It is often so much more than I thought I could ever do.  I don't believe his intention in quotes like the above is to have us punish ourselves, and yet it is a habit that comes up again and again for me.  And so, just like in stand head to knee pose, when I want to give up, but I know I can keep holding the is also the same when it comes to the mind, I can keep letting go of those self-judgements.  Yoga strengthens the mind, if you choose to let it.  

"If you can, you must."
I didn't want to blog this morning.  I went to Levi's class to volunteer with the writer's workshop.  I do love going there, the kid's are so creative and each one unique.  Almost makes me want to be a teacher...after I become a nurse, a midwife, a farmer and maybe a yoga teacher too.  So, I just got home and I have 40 minutes before yoga.  (more white people's problems...between volunteering and yoga it's like I have no time to blog.  ugh.) .  
Last night as we talked instead of finishing another martial arts film, Amy shared a tip from a successful blogger, "Blog everyday.  Even if it is just a sentence."  And so, here I am...sitting at my make-shift desk, blogging.  Because I can.
I love blogging.  I feel alive and engaged with the world.  I know I am actually in my apartment, alone, staring at a keyboard and screen.  In some sorta virtual world.  But I do love it, and in this I have found a passion.  I love knowing you are out there reading this, and that maybe sometimes something that we write matter to someone.  I mean, that is one of my whole deals in life, I want to do things that make a difference...even if small, one person at a time.

"If you can, you must."
Ah yes, the tai chi, you are asking yourself?  What ever is happening with the tai chi?  Yes, I can do tai chi.  Yes, I must do tai chi.  Today is Thursday and so I have two days counting today before we go to another class.  I think we are going to sit in a watch an advanced tai chi class this Saturday.  So, my commitment it to practice tai chi for 30 minutes today and tomorrow.  

I have to say, I am still confused about the forms.  I have a book and I went to a class and I you tube instructional videos...and they all say Yang short form, and they are ALL different!  And seriously, I am done with the practice by the time I get through looking at the 17 pages of warm-up exercises.  Yes, 17 pages.  I have never been one for warm-ups...i always hated stretching before running...I don't have time for that.  And yet, I find time to do hot yoga for 90 minutes a day.  Call me crazy.  

"If you can, you must."

How do we find the balance in life?  How do we walk that edge between doing what we can, and not exhausting and depleting ourselves?   I think one way is to find a practice, like yoga, where you can push up against that edge on a regular basis.  You get to know yourself, your body, your mind much more intimately.  
And further, how do you show up in your community?  Are you a team player?  How do you take care of yourself, and still contribute in meaningful ways?   
  • If you have a list of 25 things to do today and your friend calls up and needs last minute childcare, how do you respond?  Can you?  Must you?   
  • If you are in a meeting and your wife calls because she is having a hard day with the kids, do you take the call?  Can you?  Must you?  
 I know, more white people problems.  But this is our life, every day, we have these choices to make.  Where do you find your edge?  

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