Push, Don’t Shove

I was thinking during class this morning about the parallels between yoga and intermittent fasting.  Both have increased in popularity, so both have industries that have cropped up touting products to buy.  Both are a trending hashtag.  When you strip all the trappings away, both are based on ancient, timeless wisdom.

In full disclosure, I’m typing this following my THIRD-EVER yoga class, so I  do not claim to be an expert on yoga’s history or philosophies.  These thoughts are specific to the class I’m attending.

The class instructs you to meet yourself on the mat, to increase your awareness of where you are physically in the moment, but also in your life.  IF has done that for me.  I’ve written frequently about how the sacred space of my daily fasts have allowed me to increase self-intimacy and self-knowledge.  My fasts are a special kind of walking mindfulness.  I have never felt less in the world and simultaneously more in the world than when fasting.

The spirit of the class is supportive, honoring everyone’s experience and ability level, while maintaining a tone of empowerment, one of positive expectation for improvement.  The instructor is fantastic, walking the tightrope of challenge & support with finesse.  You don’t feel you are forced to do anything, but because of the energy of the group, you want to.

This is the culture of our Delay, Don’t Deny community on Facebook, as well as the Facebook group I lead.  There IS no failure.  There is no need for self-flagellation.  We ask people to set intention around their fasting practice and be gentle with themselves.  We ask for flexibility with self and trust in the process.  The same positive expectations without negative pressure.

Whether the body recomposition effects of IF, genetics, or the result of a year of power walking, my formerly-obese body is quite flexible and strong, so I’ve been impressed by my ability to form and hold poses.  The class is “just challenging enough”, but if it turned out to be way too advanced for where I am right now, I’d find another.  Everything has to feel aligned for me right now.  All of my choices are about me, my body, and my journey.

That age-old cliche is true; yoga is a metaphor for life.  Walking your own path.  Honoring your own journey.  All that touchy-feely stuff that makes some people feel yoga isn’t right for them.  That’s OK.  I’ve been there, too, and that’s why the path is the metaphor.  Where you are now is not where you will always be.

I push myself to do new things because I’ve been empowered by my fasting practice.  I have fully embraced my capability.  I accept new challenges with intention to do what feels right for me.  I push, but I don’t shove.