I learn something every time I practice yoga. All of it applies to life. I’ve said before if I could only figure out how to take notes while doing yoga, I would have it made. Because my hands are usually trying to hold me up, I’m left to apply only what I remember.
Over and over our teacher instructs us to soften. Maybe we are bending over, bent in half and she will say “soften.” She means stop trying so hard, stop being so tense. She means relax, allow the stretch to unfold, allow your body to release.
Sometimes she tells us to soften our face or our shoulders. Sometimes it is a tinier body part, “soften your mouth, your eyes, your forehead.”
I’m always amazed that no matter how relaxed I believe I am, there’s always more softening I can allow. Always.
Now I’m learning to apply softening to the rest of my life. These days politics cause me to do the opposite of soften. Recently someone asked my opinion on something political and I actually said, “If we talk about that I know I will scream loudly or cry hysterically so let’s not.” This is not an example of one who is softening.
With some people, I’ve had to actually say to myself, “Cindy, soften.” Stop being so angry, judgmental, tense and guarded. Soften, forgive, give grace.
With certain situations, I’ve had to do the same, let go, relax, soften, trust God.
Do you have any of those life situations that you can’t control but they seem to be making you rigid, tense, harsh? Practice the art of softening.
Dr. Will Cole is a physician I follow on Instagram. He posts often about all kinds of health and wellness. Recently he shared this, Stick with the people who pull the magic out of you and not the madness. I took a screenshot of this great quote. My life is filled with both kinds of people. I treasure the ones who pull magic out of me. With the others, I’m going to practice the art of softening. I’m going to be kinder, gentler and less guarded.
Truth comes in many forms…yoga, Instagram and even in scripture. The Bible has been talking about softening all along. We are cautioned against having a hardened heart. One of my favorite verses is Ezekiel 36:26, And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. God specializes in helping us have softened hearts.
Politics? People? Difficult situations? Body parts? Soften something. It will feel like grace.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, Mimosa to Keller and Pace, breast cancer survivor and yoga enthusiast.