Flexibility, Strength, and Gratitude

One of the many benefits to practicing yoga is an increase in physical strength and flexibility.  For me, these benefits extend far beyond the mat and teach me to have more strength (resilience) and flexibility (patience) in my personal life.  Often, this is the best feeling!  I feel good when I practice, I feel good after I practice, and I look forward to the next time I get to practice. I’m able to “go with the flow” and stay “on top of my game.”  I feel positive and fresh, and I feel like I’ve got it all together…

But sometimes that’s not the case.  Sometimes stress creeps into my life and the opposite is true.  I start to lose flexibility and strength in my personal life, and that extends back onto the yoga mat.  The feedback loop is reversed, and it all starts to fall apart.  Typically, I’m not even aware of it.  I start to become impatient, I’m unable to take constructive criticism, and I have trouble accepting that someone else’s idea might just be better than my own.  The worst is when I begin to struggle to motivate myself to get onto my yoga mat.

Then something clicks.

On Friday, I realized that I was really tight in the hips and shoulders and I was really struggling in my backward bends.  I wasn’t really happy about my practice on Friday, and it sort of put me in a funk.  Saturday was Valentine’s Day, and we had the most incredible day.  We went for a hike to a frozen waterfall, went to our favorite breakfast spot, played in the snow with the dogs, and spent the rest of the day planting seeds for the garden. We had a blast! Yet something was still a little off.  I was quick to correct Paul when he was wrong, I was grumpy about shoveling the driveway, and I didn’t really want to make dinner (that’s rare!).

Then we went to the Nelson Odeon, our new favorite music spot, for a delightful show.  Stephane Wrembel and his band made some of the most beautiful music that I’ve heard in a long time.  Not to mention that his personality was something worth visiting.  Watching and listening made me realize that I was really starting to slip and that something needed to change.  Namely: my attitude.  I really do believe in the power of positive thinking, and when a poor attitude starts to creep into your life, it’s often difficult to both recognize and change.  Sometimes life is rough and bad things happen to good people.  And sometimes, looking forward to each new day and the possibilities ahead can help bridge the gap between the good times and the bad.

Honestly, what do I really have to be grumpy about?  I live in a beautiful place, I have the most incredible friends, I have a wonderful, supporting, loving family, I have an amazing job, and I get to share it all with Paul – the most remarkable person that I’ve ever met.  I have absolutely nothing to complain about.  And sometimes it’s all about changing your perspective.

One time I read the quote, “Live simply, expect little, give much.”  These words really resonated with me, and that’s how I aspire to live each day.  So thank you, Stephane Wrembel, for the little reminder of how wondrous life can be.

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