My once and future yoga teacher, Julie, also known as my amazing Benin TA, used to tell us to embrace the shaking. When your body is at it’s most uncertain, where it could just cease to hold the position, where you cannot tell if you can push yourself further, where your body is no longer in charge of itself.
I have always found this difficult but rewarding. I have also found that it is easier when my yoga is of the intoxicated variety. Pushing myself a bit further is how I lower myself all the way to the ground from that crazy half-seated-without-a-chair position. It’s how I do full bends. It’s how I launch my legs up to the sky and then send them back over my head until I flip all the way around. It’s slow and scary, and such a (head)rush when you succeed. But even the failures teach you what you can’t do. More importantly, the breaking point is usually not nearly as conservative as I once thought.
Cope, my grandfather, told me when I first started Arabic that it is good to do something so challenging, because it exercises my learning muscles, leaving me with a greater learning capacity than I had before. Moving into the shaking, sweating, unknown parts of my life leave me equally surprised and expanded.
I find a new capacity for listening, after spending time with one of only five people capable of talking more than me.
After the deprivation of Cuba, I have been permanently able to make do with less, and to do so happily.
Find the walls that keep your life small and fixed, the positions that make your muscles doubt themselves, and push.