Yesterday I practiced, for the second time, the 96 minute sequence of the Hatha Yoga DVD, Grace and Gravity (or is it Gravity and Grace?). This time it was a little less weird but still very hard. I do not think of myself as a beginner in yoga practice, but this DVD makes me feel like a novice, and points out just how stiff my (almost) 53 year old body really is. Granted, I am a lot less stiff than I was four months ago or a year ago. And by some standards I'm pretty flexible, even for my age. What I like about the DVD is that I come out of the practice feeling like I had a real work out - slow, intense, deep, powerful. And I suspect as I practice this for the next year or so it will slowly become less weird and less difficult. And maybe I'll become more flexible and strong. That is the point of Gravity and Grace, flexibility and strength, and stamina. It's the idea built on the principle of "letting go."
In letting go, by relaxing into the postures, one builds strength, stamina, and flexibility. Counter-intuitive, perhaps. But I think there is great wisdom in that principle which can be applied to life in many ways - letting go, breathing, relaxing into the posture, the situation, or whatever life throws at us - builds us up. Letting go is not the same thing as collapsing or giving up, letting go is a process of holding a very difficult posture/life experience while at the same time breathing, relaxing into it, and letting go.
So, is it a coincidence that I bought, and am practicing, a yoga DVD called Gravity and Grace (or is it Grace and Gravity?) at this time in my life? Is it a coincidence that I practice "letting go" while at the same being in the midst of profound tension?
I think probably not. I also think that this yoga practice is grounding me in some wonderful ways, it is the gravity that holds me in balance these days. And in that there is grace.
I think not.