five years ago I attended my first yoga class, after which I swallowed my pride, shrugged off my embarrassment, and went to another one.
since that time yoga has been part of my life . . . not a large part, but a consistent, significant part. my belief about yoga is that if we all learned to move our bodies and minds in this way, and practiced yoga at even a small level on a consistent basis, our world would gradually move into greater harmony.
laugh, smirk, roll your eyes: I know this to be true.
yoga teaches you to respect yourself, your body, your fellow classmates. it teaches you to find balance, to discover the place between enough and too much. it teaches you to breathe deeply, to remove extraneous thought, to focus on doing simple things well. it hones your muscles, it leads to improved posture, it allows your joints freedom and opportunity to expand their flexibility. it teaches you acceptance, awareness, and the fulfilling task of honoring small things.
karan, a yoga instructor whose classes are fabulous and worth rearranging one’s schedule for, is on vacation (kayaking the grand canyon) for a few weeks. yesterday’s substitute for her class was a pilates teacher, and instead of yoga–to my complete surprise–we did floor pilates. hmm. I walked in craving a yoga class, and had to–repeatedly–remind myself that I would receive from this class the fullest benefit only if I opened my mind and let go of what I thought I wanted. so I did pilates, trusting that I would benefit in ways I couldn’t imagine. ruts are to be avoided as they are known to grab your tires and, often, cause you to fall . . .
where am I going with this? why, on to editing, of course.
it’s the rare human who asks someone to take their creation and adjust it, tweak it, fix it, then return it, covered with red marks, suggestions, big bold black lines through parts of it. yet we writers are encouraged to do this again and again, from our first grade school stories through high school and college essays to whatever our next creations might be. not only must we learn the art of writing, we must learn the art of receiving, weeding through, and accepting critiques. and just as open-mindedness helps one take a pilates class when one came for yoga, open-mindedness helps one listen to feedback regarding one’s written creations.
breathing deeply helps, as does a quiet room, as does a bit of time.
and just as I can’t always know how those “hundreds” and “oblique lifts” will impact my strength and flexibility, I can’t always know how someone else’s critiques and edits will impact my work. what I can know is that my job is to trust the universe. to trust that in allowing it to sometimes shake things up for me I am opening myself up to opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have. my body–my heart–my work–my life will be better for letting others add whatever it is they’re meant to add.