Being vulnerable can be scary! Correction. Being vulnerable is scary. It is hard. But when we open to vulnerability, we open to creativity, kindness, and love.
The opposite of being vulnerable is being closed off. I'm sure you've felt that way. I have. And, I've done it on purpose to protect my feelings. So, instead of going to a party, I stayed home. Instead of trying out for a team, I watched on the sidelines. Instead of taking a risk, I've "played it safe."
I could even do that today. Stop and not practice with all of you. Let's face it, I've gained some weight and it is a little embarrassing. But rather than stop, let's work through that together. I'll get the weight off, but I don't want to quit because I don't look "perfect." It's tempting. It's crossed my mind. Thoughts like, "Who wants to see a fatso on their screen while doing yoga?" have floated through my brain several times.
I'm beginning to understand that fear is the biggest drawback emotion there is! Worry is another one. A long time ago a friend's mom told me, "Worry is a useless emotion." She said that because you don't gain anything from worry. If something is going to happen, it will. Worrying won't stop it. And, you can worry yourself sick. When you realize the scary thing that could have happened didn't (like most scary things don't), you've wasted all that energy worrying, wasted all that time worrying, instead of having a pleasant day.
Let's not do that. Instead let's practice opening to vulnerability with a mixed practice of restorative poses to open our hearts (and hips) and a few active poses (just to get the blood pumping). We'll add a breathing practice and end with our traditional iRest Meditation that explores being vulnerable.
This photo shows the props needed for tonight. A couple of bolsters, two blocks, two blankets and a strap. It also shows some items you can use if you don't have typical yoga props. Couch pillows, robe belt, a few books (maybe put them in a bag or wrap them in a towel with tape so they don't come apart), two small blankets or larger towels that can be rolled up and a fuzzy blanket to stay warm and cozy!
"See you" this evening in class!
Love & Light,
You can sign up for tonight's practice here: https://app.ubindi.com/Vicki.Schneider
vulnerability is a risk.
it might break you.
but through the cracks is where the light shines.
vulnerability is a game
and no matter how much you lose
you will always win.
vulnerability might wound you,
but it will heal you, too.
don't run away from this,
don't walk away from it.
come closer, dip your toes in this water.
know that this is how you grow,
how you love,
how you become into what you will be.
~~by Gaby Compres, 2014
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As you know, when we move throughout our day we often run into “road blocks.”
Road blocks are those pesky situations where we feel beside ourselves. Where we feel the need to protect ourselves, to pull in or put up walls. Maybe it’s a “Huge Project” at work that has you anxious because there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get it done. Done right. Done well. And, done on time. Not happening, right. In comes the flood of stress – heart pumping, shoulders tensing, belly tightening.
Been there, done that. And, in my case sweets to sooth the belly nervousness. Adding insult to the injury!
Or maybe, it’s a friend you haven’t spoken with throughout this whole Covid ordeal and you feel like you’ve been forgotten, rejected, or you don’t belong.
Or it’s a creative project you’ve taken on and you are keeping it all to yourself because of the worry that comes or embarrassment you feel when you think about sharing it with others. What will they think? It’s not good enough. I’m not very creative.
Essentially, we hide.
In a physical sense, when we pull in and protect ourselves, we cover the front of our bodies. This place where our organs and our hearts are exposed. Our shoulders round and slump and our heads look down. Our posture reflects our feelings.
Emotionally, we hide. We hide from those around us. We hide from the world.
We have all been here a time or two (or three or four).
Opening into vulnerability
The beauty about summoning the courage to meeting our vulnerability and walking through it - is that there is joy, love and belonging on the other side. Brene Brown says that Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, belonging, love and joy! I want some of that.
So what does opening to vulnerability look like?
In asana practice, it’s backbends, large and small. It’s opening the front of the body that we so instinctively protect. Rodney Yee teaches us opening to vulnerability “is a willingness to fall in balance poses, to lose control in backbends, to feel unprotected on a physical level, and to challenge the survival mechanisms of your body. We may feel uncomfortable in backbends because backbends challenge our natural inclination to pull in and protect our soft spots.
From an emotional perspective, Brene Brown teaches us that opening into vulnerability is taking a risk to be the first to call not knowing what the outcome will be. Its feeling our emotions without any guarantees, and walking through them. It’s sharing your creative talents with others. It’s letting people see you, really see you – warts and all. I love this – What makes you vulnerable is what makes you beautiful!
Rodney Yee observed in his many years of teaching that a lot of people are doing yoga with a sense of performance but with no sense of vulnerability. So instead of saying “I can’t” when presented with an unusual pose or a pose that presents more of a perceived challenge, take a step. Give it a try. Make a modification that suits your ability. Stay positive. Be willing to wiggle or fall. It doesn’t matter if a pose isn’t perfect. What matters is that we try.
To feel vulnerable means you’re alive (Brene Brown)!
Let’s muster up our courage, our strength and take a few steps to meet vulnerability and walk through it - together. Let’s live and love with our whole hearts and feel alive. One vulnerable step at a time.
See you in practice.
Blessings and Namaste,
**inspired by Rodney Yee and Brene Brown.
Listen to Brene Brown's Ted Talk about vulnerability here: