I took a great yoga class night that got me thinking about the mind-body connection in a whole new way. The instructor kept asking us, “What would it look like in your body if you fully opened yourself to grace and humility?”
That’s a pretty good question when you’re twisted into a pretzel and trying to keep your balance! But when I let my BODY answer it instead of my mind, I found the pose went a little farther, the stretch was a little deeper, the exhilaration was even greater.
Being open to grace makes me roll my shoulders back, makes me lift my face skyward, makes me breathe more fully. It is an expression of confidence – that I’ll be taken care of, that everything I need is already there or will be provided. Being open to grace says “Here I am” and “I can do this” and “Bring it on.”
Conversely, being open to humility gets my ego out of the way; it makes me bow more deeply, makes me curl into myself, allows me to surrender. It’s an expression of gratitude – a reminder that I didn’t really earn any of the blessings I have – that each and every good thing – my health, my family, my career, even my productive morning or shiny new belonging – are gifts bestowed upon me that could just have easily gone to someone else. Being open to humility whispers “thank you” and “i am grateful” and “i am blessed, blessed, so very very blessed.”
Holding those two thoughts in my head simultaneously, let alone getting my BODY to express BOTH of them is daunting! How do you express both seemingly contradictory ideas at the same time?
I think the answer lies in this amazing quote by Glennon Melton of Momastery. (If you’d like to read her whole post, it’s here.)
“Be confident because you are a child of God. Be humble because everyone else is, too.”
Brilliant, right? I love the idea of having both confidence that grace will be extended to me and humility because that doesn’t make me more special than anyone else. If I had to express both of those things simultaneously in my body I would be balanced. I’d be firmly grounded yet uplifted.
When a yoga instructor says “Ground down, reach out” this is what I imagine she means. Grounded in humility, uplifted by grace. And believe it or not, it’s one of the most natural and effortless yoga poses to hold.