Sometimes in class, I’ve had various teachers set us free in a Vinyasa series to go at our own pace with the encouragement to, “Move like you,” or, “Place value on the quality of your movement.” With these cues, I’ve seen people flinch and hesitate, for what I imagine to be a moment caught up in, What does that mean??? What is the quality of my movement?
For any of us, our first reaction is to probably go by what society’s standards and definitions are: to flow like a graceful dancer or a gravity-defying gymnast. After all, these performers are highly regarded for their talents of fluid motion and are set on a pedestal of what we should aspire to.
But that’s not why we practice yoga; to be like someone else. We’re there to uncover, express, and exude our own authenticity. It doesn’t matter how much prowess or elegance we may or may not have. What matters is if we’re operating in a way that genuinely represents who we really are.
Yet, in order to have any sort of “quality of movement” we have to be present and connected to our center. How would you describe how you move when you are expressing your most authentic self? Are you proud of it? Or have you let other people define it for you?
Deepak Chopra says, “[It’s our egos that] struggle for power, approval, and safety.” Perhaps we thought we’d make a pre-emptive strike to protect ourselves from ridicule by changing certain things about ourselves so we wouldn’t draw too much attention or go against the grain of the norm.
But our individuality is the trademark of our soul. It is our dharma. When we embrace it, we shine with lightness. When we’re fearful of judgement and criticism it darkens us and weighs us down because it takes extra energy to suppress what is naturally there.
While there is the superficial manifestation of this in how we dress, our speech and how we gesture; are we also conscious of the demonstration our character? Do we honor the individuality in others or do we judge them? Are we honest? Do our actions align with our words? Do we pretend to be interested in something so someone will like us?
We usually define our “quality of life” in terms of the culture, resources, and infrastructure that support our daily existence to be efficient and that provides us with an ease for how we circulate. But really, the foundation for any sort of quality of life begins inward, with honoring our true essence. If we aren’t connected to it, and recognize that which we are, we will always be unsettled and restless as we look for what someone else has. Just be you…