I believe we all strive for symmetry in one way or another in our lives. We analyze our bodies, proportions, our faces to see if they’re balanced, to see if they are the same on both sides. We know that symmetry makes for a beautiful, harmonious whole. There are even studies that have proven that we find symmetrical faces the most attractive. But we are not lady bugs, with the near perfect reflection of pretty spots right-to-left. and we are not butterflies (although Mariah Carey may argue) and our limbs will never mirror each other with such precision. Thats my problem with this whole symmetry myth, with the idea of finding the most beauty in symmetry. Because there truly is no such thing.
Why would we expect our outsides to be symmetrical when our insides so clearly are not. The human body is this amazing, magical, mystical work of art. Hearts on the left, livers on the right. except when they’re not. except when every so often the liver is on the left. or the heart is on the right. or when everything is flipped and switched and somehow miraculously a wonderful (magical) life still exists and thrives.
We move and breathe and that is where the beauty lays. Our insides know that beauty is in the function, our muscles know that beauty is in the balance of work and ease, and that how far apart your eyes are really has quite little to do with it.
More on symmetry on the blog http://www.patrickandcarling.com/day-18-symmetry/
When I set out on this lovely little writing challenge it was meant to help drive some consistent inspiration my way. to bring forth some magical blog posts full of unparalleled mid-twenties white girl wisdom and inspiration for others. Because somedays, some weeks, some times, we are lucky enough to have be ho-hum. to be routine and pretty overall full of generally great (or at least not bad) stuff. and because much like the very best music albums, the epic shit doesn’t get written during the good times.
We need inspiration, and often times inspiration stems from pain. it stems from those moments of brutal heartache and broken promises. the weeps on the other side of a suddenly closed door. from struggle and moments of clawing at reality, from that pit deep, deep in your stomach when you know things aren’t okay.
If you have ever loved a band or an artist enough to follow their career (if you’re like me, obsessively) you can feel the difference in their music when somethings going down. You can feel it in the words and the way they sing them, in the rawness of the story being told. and I think that’s what most of us connect to, rawness.
raw. cracked open. vulnerable. courageous for allowing that vulnerability to be seen and heard. honest. raw. real.
I have a few albums I love. like love love. but that can only be listened to (again, obsessively and on repeat) during certain moods and certain times in my life. Listening to someone else lay out exactly how you’re feeling, or touch on a thought you’ve had but not known how to express is priceless. it creates this connection, this unspoken bond, with whomever it is that understands you. they get it. someone gets it. someone gets me.
I think we all aspire to create and find these connections. these intimate emotional bonds that make us feel during times when feeling is hard. when feeling sucks. even if that connection is with an anonymous blogger or a famous musician or a long dead poet.
The problem with break up albums, and the problem with being raw and down in the dirt every time you write, is that its fucking exhausting. If you’re going to write from the dregs all the time, you pretty much have to live in the dregs, breathe in that sediment, all the time. We end up sitting in the residue of our own misgivings and hardships in an effort to keep creating.
When things are going pretty okay, when life is more Beach Boys and less Pearl Jam, it can be much harder to pull the words out and something needs to stoke the inspirational fires without setting our lives ablaze over and over again.
I’ve come to find that many of the things that make my body the happiest, are simple. They are small gestures or moments at ease. Things that evoke feelings of support and softness. (no not cats, well, yes cats also) The things that make my body feel great and my mind clear, those are the things I really want to rave about. Those are the things where the raving comes easily. When it comes to the physical practice, we can all usually, and pretty quickly, come up with our least favorite postures. The ones that make us look at the clock or curse the teacher, don’t they know how much this pose sucks? They can’t know or they wouldn’t be making me do it! (funny story, we do know, and thats probably why we are making you do it.)
But which physical postures bring us the most joy can be a bit harder to pinpoint. The easy answer is Handstands! Inversions! Backbends! Arm Balances! Gimme that workshop worthy stuff, the instagram-able poses only please. But as much as I love those guys, I love love (similar to like like, but more) me some yin. I love me some props, and some supta ardha virasana. some plow with a good 4 sand bags any day and enough time to close my eyes and breath into the spaces between.
As I’ve probably touched on about a million times in recent posts, we are currently in the midst of a whirlwind of stuff. one million moving parts means when there’s time, I’m all about relishing in the stillness.
Being able to devote 5 minutes to a posture, whether its passive or active is quite the luxury. Most days it can be hard to imagine getting 5 minutes to yourself but when you do, oh is it good. When it comes to being able to totally release and settle into a beautiful balanced restorative posture my not-so-secret, secret is props. Build yourself a fort of support and comfort. become the mayor of Prop City. you now live at the corner of Multiple Bolster street and 3 Blanket Avenue.
Taking the time to set myself up, in order to allow myself the time to settle in is one of my most favorite practices. Nothing feels better than being supported, relaxed, open and at ease. It’s Friday night, who knows you may even find the urge to indulge in your body and rave about yourself tonight rather than raving with the homies.
I’ve broken one of Yoga Journals cardinal rules, wearing spaghetti straps with broad shoulders. Ay dios mio, my whole practice is ruined.
Here’s why I wanted to throw the new Yoga Journal out the window this morning.
You know, it’s so much easier to rant. it really is. I purposefully put Rave first on this list of prompts for that exact reason. We could all write novels about the shit that pissed us off. We are too often surrounded by complaining or cutting things and people down, heck most of the time we may even be part of that conversation. You know, the “I love her but….” or “don’t get me wrong, Betty is a super chill chick but I can’t believe she…” It can be much harder to see and express the good stuff. What we are grateful for, what made us smile that day, or the wonderful things that happened in the world. Some days it feels like there aren’t too many of those and the positive stuff certainly doesn’t garner as many clicks as the bad stuff does. This couldn’t be any more evident to me than when I picked up the new Yoga Journal this morning and immediately wanted to throw it out the window.
While I have never thought that Yoga Journal offered the best or most creative content out there (the best stuff is being created by real people, blogs, videos, stuff with heart) I certainly still always read it. I scanned, I stopped and read, maybe tried a few recipes and was never too bothered by the increasing ads, I get it, Yoga Journal’s gotta pay the bills too. I’ve always actually loved the nude ToeSox photos which to me say I’m wearing really silly unnecessary socks but I’m still strong as hell. But I have to draw the line at this month’s article “Love Your Curves” Oh yes, it sure sounds like it’s going to be body positive and align with the way Yoga has helped so many of us learn to love and appreciate our amazing bodies. Unless, say it was exactly the same as the routine Cosmo articles telling women which category their bodies fit into and how to hide forever inside that box. Not enough boobs? have no fear, create cleavage with a princess neckline! Just what my practice was missing, cleavage. I knew it was boobs all along that were gonna be the key to getting to the 4th series.
We’ve all been banging our heads against the wall for years hoping that Yoga Journal would start including a better representation of yogis, you know, men in general who aren’t named Jason, women who aren’t blonde, women who aren’t white, a range of all body types because turns out all bodies do yoga.
I think they must have heard some of our cries, but sorely missed the point. Including different body types other than the usual waif-ish woman or slender white man in tiny shorts does not count if you are only going to use them to serve up more negative body talk. We can love our curves, or love our lack of curves without being talked down to and promptly instructed how to cover them up. Love your curves! but dear lord, please don’t make us look at them. Pear, wedge, hourglass, rectangle, apple, this is just the same crap article that every fitness magazine publishes each month reminding us that we need to fit into their consumer demographics. Don’t you dare wear spaghetti straps, you’ll totally flatten your chest! Pear shaped and you want to wear crops? Oh honey, you’ll look 3 inches shorter and that will have a serious impact on your meditation practice.
uh oh, I’ve broken one of the cardinal rules. “If your shoulders are wide [aka broad, aka STRONG] opt for a broad strapped tank that breaks up the shoulder line, and skip spaghetti straps or T-shirts”
Honestly, I expected more from you Yoga Journal. To be fair, not too much more considering you’ve openly stated you wont put men on the cover because they don’t sell as well as young white women, but this month’s issue feels like you’ve finally lost your roots. I’ve never had much of a problem with the big business aspect of Yoga because, well, anything with this many participants is bound to have an economy surrounding it. But Celebrity covers, body shaming, and the same 3 teacher articles and knee-to-nose sequences for the 17th month in a row is tired, and its lazy.
The yoga world is full of interesting, innovative, compassionate, exciting, and wonderful yogis doing dope shit. All you have to do is look at instagram, look at the kickstarters, the body positive campaigns, and home grown studios, and dedicated communities. How much more interesting would it have been to read a full 3-5 page spread on Brock Cahill’s Kurmalliance and Pluckfastic efforts to clean up our beaches and oceans during SUP yoga classes and saving our precious sea life, instead of the measly 1 paragraph on the last page of a previous issue? Why are these types of content the backstory and how to conceal your flaws during your (ahem, nonjudgemental) practice is the centerfold? Somehow we end up with the same regurgitated material month after month, now with a little extra kick of your-not good-enough-a-la-shape-magazine flair dusted on top.