Reflecting on ‘The Resting Pose’

Originally written by Zara M on  29 August 2013

I was sad to have missed the Yoga4Tango class last week. Unfortunately I haven’t been well and so I have pretty much locked myself away, partly not wanting to spread my germs, but mostly because I was feeling sorry for myself. The result though, was that I was quite disappointed in myself for not pushing past barriers that I knew didn’t really have to be an issue. I spoke to one or two Yoga practitioners last week who encouraged me to go to the class and the practice sessions even if I wasn’t feeling very well, because the sessions would in fact be healing and have a positive effect on my body and health. I was encouraged to give it a chance, but I ignored the advice and instead I have felt more rubbish than I needed to feel this week. Cue violins. I tend to have high expectations of myself and constantly beat myself up mentally over any perceived personal failure.

Why am I telling you this? Well I believe that in our classes we have been encouraged to take the time to prepare our bodies for the poses, holds and sequences mentally and physically by breathing our way into it, and establishing balance and grounding. All of this is a mental preparation that has a positive physical effect on us. Once we feel steady and strong, we then have the mental and physical capacity to push ourselves past boundaries and ease into the next level of the pose or sequence, and often during the lessons I have felt quite surprised at what my body has been capable of. All it takes is a little bit of self-belief, focus and determination. It is easy to give up before we have pushed ourselves to the real limit, not because we think it is impossible to reach, but because we can’t be bothered, or we allow fear or insecurity to stop our progress.

In Tango this happens all of the time. Instead of summoning positivity, we may envelope ourselves in a dark cloud of doubt and end up not getting the potentially enjoyable and satisfying experience and sense of achievement we normally seek. Many a time, I have gone to a Milonga in the wrong frame of mind, and sat in a corner with a scowl on my face wondering why nobody wants to dance with me, when really I have put myself under unnecessary pressure and ended up feeling frustrated for not living up to my own high expectations. You have to bring with you the right attitude if you are to achieve your goals. This is the same whether you want to enjoy Tango, whether you want to push through your perceived limits in Yoga, or whether you allow a bit of a cold to stop you from doing the things you want to do.

On the other hand I suppose it is always important to remember that there will always be the possibility of failure, but it is how you perceive that failure that makes all the difference. Do you let it affect everything? Or do you just assume your resting pose and re-group until you are ready to carry on? A resting pose therefore is not a sign of defeat; it is a sign of respecting your body and reconnecting your mind with your body’s needs.

Maybe I will just see this week of illness as an extended resting pose. Now I am ready to rise and start again.

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