Pema Chodron is known for her reflection on the Buddha’s teachings in this area:
“The Buddha taught that flexibility and openness bring strength and that running from groundlessness weakens us and brings pain. But do we understand that becoming familiar with the running away is the key? Openness doesn’t come from resisting our fears but from getting to know them well.”
When we are rigid – whether in body, mind, or soul – we feel a lot more resistance and we put ourselves in a position to be snapped under the pressure.
Yogic theory builds a foundation here, too, with the focus on Sthira (steadiness) and Sukha (ease). I start every single class I teach with the purposeful intention of connecting to both stability and ease.
On a deeper level, we can realize the significance of the energetic balance here…
True stability/strength requires a foundation in ease/flexibility, and vice-versa. We must cultivate both to maintain balance.
As I said above, being too rigid sets one-self up for reaching the breaking point – we become tense, weak, and easily irritated when our bodies, minds, and/or souls are constantly tense and rigid.
We can bring more strength of character and our physical, mental, and emotional states – in time and with practice increasing our endurance for maintaining this state of strength and ease – simply by focusing on being more flexible mentally, emotionally, and even physically with ourselves and with others.
Working on the physical body through stretches and movements that increase range of motion is a wonderful way to enhance our physical strength – any great athlete knows that a flexibility routine boosts their strengthening routines.
But did you know that through physical movement that increases flexibility, we can directly impact our mental and emotional flexibility as well?
This is one area where yoga can become a very powerful self-mastery tool. Opening up physically requires a level of mental and emotional openness, too.
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Deepen your experience with this concept via this wonderful Yoga International article. – including instructions on a very simple yoga sequence to help you cultivate and expand this subtle and profound energy.
These are some of my favourite poses which harness the power of movement for creating a stable foundation in strength and flexibility mentally, emotionally, and physically:
- eagle pose;
- preparatory lord of the fishes pose;
- sleeping abdominal stretch pose;
- and this sequence preparing the body for one-legged king pigeon pose.