We live in a culture that shuns vulnerability. We cheer for the scrappy underdog who finds a way to pull herself up by her bootstraps. We value mind over matter and adulate those who can push their bodies through anything to reach their goals.
Don’t get me wrong—self-care and self-sufficiency are vital and admirable traits! But this notion that we must do it all by ourselves in order to be strong weakens us all. In fact, the idea that we are somehow capable of thriving in isolation runs counter to all of the principles that govern the universe. There is a yin and yang, a push and a pull, to every force in the universe. And if we don’t know how to receive, we waste vital energy on resistance instead of being in flow.
Your very bones are designed to work most optimally when they work with gravity, instead of resisting it. Your posture is a reflection of that relationship. When we marvel at the grace of a dancer or martial artist, we’re really marvelling at their relationship with gravity. They’re not fighting its pull. They’re not thrown off balance by its constant tug. Their grace doesn’t come fromoverpowering—it comes from accepting gravity and other universal forces’ help.
They have acknowledged gravity’s pull and are using it to power their motions. They have transformed a feeling of weight into a sense of groundedness in their bodies and a connection to the earth. They have learned to step into sync with the universe by aligning their bodies with the gravity and the unexpected tug of the world around them. They trust gravity to keep them rooted, their bones to hold them up, and the stretch of their posture toward the sky to keep them moving forward.
Are you asking your muscles to do your bones work in holding you up?
Are you resisting and fighting gravity, rather than working with it?
Are you literally trying to carry the world on your shoulders?
Are you tensing out of fear of collapse?
When we align ourselves with gravity, we learn to accept its support instead of seeing it as a burden. When we stop fighting the natural ebbs and flows of the world—and start learning to move with them—we stop experiencing life as tumultuous and step into an ease of being. And that state of grace observed in our postural relationship with gravity teaches us to work with life, instead of resisting its ups and downs.
If you think about it, grace in the face of tragedy does not come from trying to overpower the reality of the situation through sheer power of positivity—in fact, if you’ve ever seen that reaction, it’s probably made you cringe with fear that a hard fall is headed that person’s way. When we say someone has responded with grace, intuitively what we mean is, “That person has found a way to work with the fall, and as a result, will probably experience less damage.” We worry less about them, and we usually admire them all the more for it. This way of meeting challenge is what we are practicing when we meet gravity. Good posture carries an internal and external grace.
What we practice in our bodies becomes our practice in every aspect of our lives.
There is no escaping life’s pull. We can either exhaust ourselves over a lifetime by trying to change the very nature of the universe—or we can befriend it and ask it for help.
Where in your life could you use a little more grace?
How is your body asking you for help?
What would it feel like to experience true ease?