Go With the Flow *CONTEST OVER*

Happy International Yoga Day! I'm so excited to be on this journey with you, my fellow yogi. I never would have imagined I'd be where I am today - not only have I done a complete 180 with my career - changing from Advertising to Yoga - but my practice has grown by leaps and bounds. I'm stronger, more confident, and more flexible, but - more importantly - I have finally surrendered to the idea that nothing comes with force. When we stubbornly push ourselves into something, rather than allowing the natural flow of the universe to guide us, our bodies and minds respond by pushing back. Most of this comes from the ego - that voice deep within us, telling us that where we are today isn't good enough...to push it farther. Take an asana, for example: we're standing in the first level of Tree pose, with the heel of our bent leg gently resting above the ankle. We're stable here, but we see our neighbor gliding their food up to their calf...then their inner thigh...and our stability goes out the window. We should do better, we should go higher, push push push. So we grab our foot and pull it up before we're ready. Not surprisingly, we topple over. Now, we may have been able to take this pose before, but because we have forced our body into it - because our EGO has forced us to move somewhere before we were really ready - we have lost it.

The pose in the photo above has taken me so long to achieve. Pigeon is my favorite pose (take THAT, sciatica!) and I've always enjoyed that little extra quad stretch by drawing the heel in slightly towards the glutes. I pushed and pushed myself for months to achieve this, and the only result was a sore lower back, a strained hip flexor, and a bruised ego. Eventually, I gave in and stopped pushing. And lo and behold - my heart fully opened, my toes floated up to the crease in my elbow, and I felt my fingers graze each other overhead. The moment I stopped forcing something was the moment I was able to achieve it.