This weekend, I attended a yoga class for the first time in several months. Over the course of those 90 minutes, I felt as if I came back to myself. After thirteen months of feeling weak, incapable, and out-of-touch with my heart, I slowly sank back into myself with each stretch. The experienced teacher led with grace and compassion, offering cues like “feel the weight of your sits bones and shift slightly as needed, the weight of a gain of sand at a time.”
Anyone who is familiar with yoga will know that small adjustments make all the difference. Bend your knees. Drop your hips. Energetically pull your belly button towards your spine. Extend on the inhale, twist on the exhale. Breathe, remember to breath.
Over the last year, I’ve fallen out of touch with my body. I stopped meditating because closing my eyes made me dizzy. I took leave from yoga because my muscles would shake violently in the simplest pose; after ten years of being able the yogi equivalent to Gumby, my performance in class always felt like a failure. Though I’ve found a similar level of focused flow in cooking and walks around the lake, meditative yoga has always been a beautiful open dialogue with my body. This is where we are today; this is what we can do.
During the class, I found my body offering me cues internally. Without thinking, I self-adjusted. Hands slightly further apart. Firm, but not forced. Level your hips. Bring your mind back to your breath. Draw in your core. Tilt your pelvis slightly. Breathe.
Since the class, I’ve been thinking about two things: the power of small adjustments and the wonder of the body’s intuitive wisdom.
If you start walking for ten minutes a day, read books instead of mindlessly browsing social media, or replace your sugary afternoon snack with veggies, the compounded effect of these small actions can lead to dramatic changes. Rather than staring at the daunting bigger picture and wondering how you’ll drop 50 pounds, pay off your student loans or meet your soulmate, focus instead on the small efforts that may support the larger dream. Cut out sugar, set up a budget, and simply sign up for an online dating site. The smallest actions can add up to big results.
Additionally, I’ve been reminded that the human body is imbued with all of the wisdom it needs, whether sourced from personal experience, a collective conscience or past lives. We’ve all experienced the subtle gut feeling that we shouldn’t get into the car, or that craving for a food we don’t normally eat (but that may contain nutrients the body is missing). Our body knows its limits and capabilities, and its quite skilled at sending us to the edge of possibility before reeling us back in.
When brought together, the wisdom of our physicality and the potentiality of small adjustments offers us infinite power. When we listen to body and trust its wisdom enough to approach the edge, without going over the edge, we grant ourselves permission to learn, grow, and expand withing a safe and supportive space. While many seek shortcuts and instant gratification, the true victors are those who strive for slow and sustainable progress. The true winners are those who recognize the infinite potentiality of continually making small adjustments.