I love/love/hate yoga. I love the moments of bliss and self-realization I receive from practicing, and I love/hate the moments of blinding clarity I encounter regarding my never-ending desire to control all the things outside of my control. I know this is a good thing. I have a place to safely reflect on the fact that I’m comparing and competing with nearly every single person in the room. It’s atrocious. And awesomely sobering. 

I was in a class once where we were going over Eagle Pose, which if you are not yoga-adept, is super twisted. Like for real. Your arms are intertwined, and you are standing on one leg as the other wraps around it. Your whole body is bound tight by your own doing. This pose has always been funky, weird and laughable for me, but I carry on, because, y’know, that’s what you’re there for. 

So we’re completely constricted, teetering on one leg, and the teacher starts telling us this particular pose is all about freedom. Um. Say what?? That would surely be the last word out of my mouth when asked to describe this pose. But she went on to say that the lesson in this pose is all about finding the freedom within your circumstances. Finding the breath even though your lungs are being squeezed by your own fierce embrace. Finding a little more wiggle room in your lower back by putting attention on the muscles outside of your hips. 

And that’s when I declared my undying love for Eagle Pose. 

Because when we dive inward, we can find a little more freedom within our current condition and bring about harmony. If we get still, focused, centered, our strength multiplies and we stop fighting and start doing what we need to do to get to where we want to go. Yes, our freedom does require eternal vigilance, but not the epic struggle you might be familiar with. It’s an eternal awareness that we are always at choice. Our freedom is within. The more we delve inward, the more space we find to breathe and ultimately blossom.

There is always a way out. And it usually comes from within.

Talk about twisted.