If you’ve been to the studio, you’ve heard me say, “I’m a bull in a china shop.” That is my natural state. I move through the world getting sh*t done. Nothing stands in my way. Is this healthy? Probably not (hello, Rheumatoid Arthritis). Should I change? Who’s to say. Is this working for me? Heck, yeah (hello, blue door)!
Why am I telling you this? A couple of reasons:
- it’s important to know your natural constitution or way of being
- there’s nothing, inherently, wrong with being this way
- only when you know who you are, can you grow/change, as needed
In yoga philosophy we learn about our natural constitution through our relationship to gravity—bear with me, because this is really cool! Here’s an easy exercise, when you’re seated, do you:
- do you sit up ramrod straight?
Neither is right nor wrong (just as being a bull in a china shop isn’t good nor bad). It just gives you insight into how you move through the world. If you slump or hunch over—going back to yoga and gravity—you are a “collapser” or “buckler.” If you sit up ramrod straight, you are a “propper” or “bracer.” Can you guess what I am? Yup, I’m a propper or bracer. I hold lots of tension in my system and resist against gravity. My work is in learning how to bend and move and receive/yield. Those who tend to be collapsers or bucklers, need to work on resisting and pushing back and giving.
The lesson to be learned from being a bracer or buckler is that neither has a value judgement placed upon it and should not be viewed that way. Our work in learning who we are relies on us having a healthy relationship to gravity: allowing it to support and cradle us when needed and allowing us to test its boundaries when necessary. If this isn’t a metaphor for life, I don’t know what is!
Next time you’re at yoga, observe your natural state of being. Ask yourself, “Am I pushing into the pose and gravity or am I letting the pose and gravity take over?” How can you find that moment of yielding where you and the pose are one? Where gravity is working for you and not against you? It’s not easy, but it’s so valuable. Once, you find this on your mat, maybe, just maybe, you will be able to adopt this in your life.
I will always be a bracer, a propper, a bull in a china shop, but I have learned how to make this dance a little more graceful. And, I have yoga philosophy to thank for that.