What Grace Really Looks Like
Previous to Navina Yoga’s establishment in 2016, I struggled a lot with building our brand. I wanted it to breed just as much strength as it did flexibility as I feel that both are equally important. I wanted to implement the practice in a way that enhances our mental health and teach students how they can take this practice to cultivate a successful living. One of my many struggles was creating the tag lines or slogan’s for the company. I really loved the dualistic simplicity of strength and grace. Initially I felt the word grace may be taken strictly as my initial understanding of the definition, to cultivate a certain level of skill that creates a sense fluidity to the movement. Over time, your practice begins to exude a sort of effortless quality, and you essentially make the practice look ‘easy’. This is certainly one aspect of it and simply highlights one layer of the practice, however it still suggested a more feminine quality and that was not the full use of the word that I was looking for.
The practice of Navina Yoga is to offer a balanced approach for a modern society. It is incredibly important to build strength, to push beyond to confinements of our comfort zone, and I have fun challenging students and learning not to take the eye rolls personally. No really, I do enjoy it because if they stick with it, before they know it that look of doubt will be shattered with an incredible ‘aha’ light once they actually experience the potential in their body and suddenly are balancing on their hands. The look of pure potentiality, or said another way, the ‘holy shit I did it’ look.
Grace is not something that supersedes strength, but instead precedes it. Grace is having the courage to face your current situation, not retracting back and pulling away, but standing tall and proud and connected to your truth amongst adversity. I have taught in quite a few studio’s through my decade of experience and one thing always remained consistent, people would be so incredibly hard on themselves when they fell out of a posture.
So let’s break this down, most would agree that they practice yoga to progress but how can we progress if we don’t give ourselves permission to fall? Don’t practice by trying to make it look perfect, this is precisely why we don’t have mirrors. Practice having the courage to take your posture past the perfect stance and embrace the wobbles that will come with it and the inevitable falls that will occur. That’s the first layer, the second is to notice how you react to the fall. I am willing to bet that like many, you are way too hard critical on yourself but really, it’s just yoga! Learn to meet your falls with the courage to not only get back into the posture, but to do it without any of the harsh critical voice that tends to go with it and instead meet it with a soft smile, even if it’s fake initially ;)
This is so critical to your success in life because if you are hard on yourself when you fall out of a yoga posture then I am certain you are too hard on yourself off of the mat too. This may stem from good intentions however it ends up having incredibly crippling effects on our ability to pursue our dreams because if your not willing to fall on your mat, then your likely not going to be willing to fall of it either. No master starts with that level of precision and skill, they failed, they fumbled, but they stuck with it and learned from their mistakes. Over time, and it’s said to be 10,000 hours of experience that's necessary to develop the skill to a level of mastery.
Grace is not only having the courage to get a little wobbly, but also having the ability to smile instead of judge when you do fall, as long as you keep getting back up then you will continue to progress, this is life. Grace is having the courage to own your mistakes for what they are, lessons. All too often we externalize our failures and there is no room for growth within that. Next time you fall, congratulate yourself on being human, then own your story and keep on growing. If we focus on being perfect, then it creates this habit of always trying to win in the present moment and this will quickly take over your trajectory. At Navina Yoga, we want you to succeed way beyond your desires, but you have to be willing to fall along the way. It’s not about perfection, it’s about progress.