I've been a Pilates student for almost 10 years and a yogi even longer, but that doesn't mean it's gotten easy. . . just the opposite; the longer I practice and the more I learn, the more challenging it gets.
Yes, I've gotten stronger. I'm more flexible and my balance is better. I've learned how to handstand and pull off Teaser on the Reformer as well as how to work in a healing way with my tweaky low back.
But that doesn't mean it's easy. Each new skill simply builds upon what I've learned before, offering possibilities to go further than was previously possible.
Evolution occurs in any long term relationship. Over time, new facets of our partner are revealed; we each change and grow, challenging us to go deeper, to be patient and loving in ways we previously didn't think were possible. We get to decide each day to keep going or call it quits. This is especially true of the relationship we have with our body.
We feel great after class and promise to get there more often. . . then life happens. We get busy. Schedules change. We get injured. Suddenly we can't do what we did before and we have a choice to make - do we give up or do we go deeper? And what exactly does it mean to go deeper?
To me going deeper means showing up and being present, especially when I don't want to, breathing, feeling, and doing my best while accepting that what my best is will vary wildly from day to day. Some days I luxuriate in a long sweaty practice; some days the best I can do is 5 minutes of gentle stretching. When I'm tired and in pain, my best looks very different than when I'm full of energy and feeling great and that's ok.
It means continuing to learn and try new things, even if they seem impossibly difficult at first. There's always some part of it I can do even if it's simply staying present and breathing.
It's trusting in yourself and your natural rate of process. Accepting that what is a challenge today will not always be one, as long as you continue to show up and try. That willingness to show up and learn is where evolution and transformation happen.
This past weekend, I was able to spend 3 full days with Pilates teachers from around the country learning from some of the top names in the industry. I learned a few new tricks but mostly I learned how to go deeper: how to get up in front of folks I didn't know to perform and teach movements I'm not confident in so that I could learn new ways of approaching them; how to let go of what I know (or think I know) in order to absorb what was shared with me; how to be present, even when I was tired and every muscle on my body ached.
I'm so excited to bring back what I learned to my classes and to my own practice this week. Some take-aways have sunk in; I can feel the difference already. Others will take time, but that's ok. In the meantime, I'll show up and breathe. I'll curiously explore each movement. I'll find the part that I can do now and chose to delight in that, rather than focusing on what's still a struggle. I've practiced long enough to trust that if I take care of today, the growth will happen all on its own.
GO DEEPER THIS SUMMER
In addition to my weekly classes, I'm offering an array of options this summer for getting started or going deeper. I hope you'll join me. The only requirement is a willingness to show up and do your best (whatever that looks like that day).