I have quite a strong masculine side. I had been aware of this but didn’t realize how it was impacting my relationships — particularly those of romantic in nature — until I attended Alison Armstrong’s Celebrating Men workshops in 2008.
My weakest link?
I was so used to giving. Taking the lead. Being in charge.
I didn’t know how to receive.
It was around the same time that I was introduced to salsa dancing which I so loved! 😀 I couldn’t have enough of it! It was also one means through which I was able to practice how to receive.
On the dance floor, I was merely a follower taking the cue from my dance partner. I just followed. And I flowed!
I delighted so much in the experience! 😀 Every moment. Every dance.
I would light up the minute I set foot on the dance floor! 😀 Actually, just the thought of going salsa dancing was enough to liven me up! It just brought so much joy — to me as well as my dance partners whose light would beam just as brightly! 😀 ⭐ 😀
It was new territory to not have to call the shots. What a refreshing change! A most joyful experience! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Nowadays, I don’t go salsa dancing anymore. 😦 Not because I no longer want to. Oh, I miss it terribly! Unfortunately, there are no such opportunities in the countryside. 😦
From Salsa Dancing To Practicing Yoga
My yoga practice, though, has taken its place. I continue to further hone my receptivity each time I hop on the mat.
When I was still residing in the city, and yoga studios were in my midst, I hardly practiced at home. It was more inviting to practice with a group.
Being led by an instructor had helped me switch off my masculine side — just as when I was salsa dancing. I‘d leave my masculine side at home. I’d only follow the teacher’s instructions.
Practicing with a group in an instructor-led class in a public studio as opposed to a private home practice also helped me ensure that I’m doing the asanas correctly.
And those years, thankfully, have paid off — especially so now that I’ve chosen a more reclusive lifestyle.
I’m residing in a remote seaside location where I’m the only one with a passion for yoga!!! Practicing yoga on my own, therefore, is a more sensible choice.
However, I still need an instructor. Not so much to guide me and ensure that I do the poses correctly but more because I still want to be a ‘follower.’ I like listening to someone give me instructions. I like hearing someone else’s voice other than my own — for a change. 🙂
And the abundance of yoga videos, especially those online, is much to be thankful for!
There are times, though, when I let the videos play and just hear the instructor’s voice, but I’m not necessarily following their instructions! I guess I’m too much of a free spirit to be an all-out follower, eh? 😉
It’s also my way of honoring my body and listening to what it needs. I let my Inner Authority choose and decide.
Practicing yoga on my own is also helping me curb my competitive tendency — also one of my stronger suits. No surprise there for someone with a strong masculine energy, eh? 😉
But not anymore, I’d like to believe.
My erstwhile dominant masculine side is no longer as pronounced as it used to be. I have been, after all, diligently curbing it. And with much success, thankfully. 😀
Is ‘More’ [Always] ‘Better?’
Admittedly, earlier on, I fell prey to the false belief that ‘more is better’ — especially how it applies to the [wrongful] practice of yoga.
It’s easy to see how that gets translated to the [false] need and goal to bend more, stretch more, twist more, reach more…
You’re a ‘better’ yogi/yogini when you’re able to do more. Hold the poses longer. Reach farther. Stretch deeper.
You’re a ‘better’ yogi/yogini when you’re able to do more advanced poses and turn your body into a twisted pretzel. Carry out those ‘perfect’ yoga magazine cover-worthy asanas.
Not surprising, therefore, that I suffered injuries! Ouch! 😮 😮 😮
A couple of years ago, I twisted my right hip while practicing on my own. 😦 A couple of years prior, I pulled a hamstring during an instructor-led group practice. 😦
Naturally, I took some time off. I allowed my body to heal.
The injuries, though, didn’t discourage me. They didn’t make me completely give up practicing on the mat. Not because I wanted to prove anything — another tendency for which I have the propensity and for which I constantly watch out.
I continue to practice the yoga asanas because of the tremendous benefits that I’m deriving from it. The injuries served as my reminders. To not push myself unnecessarily — a habit that I’m still overcoming. To be more mindful — a skill that I’m still mastering. To not be swayed by the misleading teaching that ‘more is better’ — something I have yet to completely rise above.
Largely because of the injuries, I’ve had to back off from an intense yoga practice. I’ve shunned away from them.
And as the injuries healed, my body no longer thirsted for the intensity of my previous regimen. My body has become content with a more basic practice. A simpler one. More laidback.
Might that also come with age? Maybe. (I’m 54 — if that even signifies anything.)
Be it because of the injuries or advancing in years, I’m just honoring my body. I’m respecting and fulfilling its needs. I’m following its unique rhythm.
And a more easy-going routine, a passive type of practice, yin, is where my physical vessel presently finds its nourishment and nurturance. I cannot even imagine myself now going back to or enjoying an intense ashtanga practice! Not that I’m ruling that out completely…..
“Yin Yoga has the same goals and objectives as any other school of yoga; however, it directs the stimulation normally created in the asana portion of the practice deeper than the superficial or muscular tissues (which we are calling the yang tissues). Yin Yoga targets the connective tissues, such as the ligaments, bones, and even the joints of the body that normally are not exercised very much in a more active style of asana practice.” (Source: http://www.yinyoga.com/)
With the internal aggression that I’m vigilant about overcoming coupled with the exhaustion from the aggression, chaos and drama in the outside world — most especially these days — daily doses of yin yoga practice is a must for me! 🙂
Here are some of my favorite videos (mostly from Kassandra). I hope you enjoy them and benefit from these practices as much as I do! 🙂
(1) 60 min yin yoga for neck, shoulders, and hips
(2) 30 min yin yoga for hips
(3) 30 min yin yoga for upper back knots
(4) 75 min chakra yin yoga
(5) 70 min full body sequence – I use this as my bedtime practice as it makes me crawl up my bed immediately after. 🙂 Countless are the times when I’d fall asleep while on savasana! 😀
⭐ ❤ 😀 ❤ ⭐