“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” -David WolfeEdit
Last night I read this quote and it was one of those mind-blowing moments. I had been stressing out about today’s LA voice lesson commute for the greater part of the last week. A storm had been brewing that was to last Friday through Monday and I feared the stormy drive, accidents, and traffic. I even wavered on preemptively canceling my lessons. Then I thought better of it. The 8+ hour drive is always a pain. It is always stressful and full of the unknown–for better or worse. If I canceled or gave up at the first sign of trouble, where would I be? It takes commitment to get anywhere worthwhile. Conditions will never be perfect. You will always be tired, sore, braindead, and the like. The key is to practice and move forward towards your passion regardless of the circumstances. Whether it is a handstand or an aria, if you care about it enough, you will work towards it every day with diligence and perseverance. For many years I have understood this. I have made yoga a daily part of my life and when I’m not practicing arias, scenes, cabaret pieces, and operas, I’m thinking about my technique and my repertoire. I used to feel stressed from the constant focus and long hours of work. By the end of the day, I usually drop in a heap on the couch and try to tune out the world and clear my brain. However, this quote brought to my attention that I needed a perspective change. No matter the long hours, if I am doing things that I care about all day, then it’s not a day of stress: it’s a day of passion. It’s an opportunity to refine my skills, to try something new, and to share my knowledge with others. So, today as I headed out on the road, I held my head up high and drove towards my passion. Suddently, the road wasn’t so grueling. The clouds were a beautiful backdrop of interesting shapes rather than clouds of doom and danger. My lessons were not a time for me to prove myself, but instead a time for me to learn and grow. The weather traffic delays and detours did not require me to white knuckle the steering wheel and furrow my brow, instead it was an opportunity to experience new roads and locations and find hidden parks and vantage points. Yes, the drive home took an hour longer than usual, but my lessons were more successful and relaxed than ever before and I returned home calm and fulfilled rather than exhausted and dejected. What a pleasant change a simple shift of perspective can make.
#journeytohandstand challenge day 2: Chatarunga. This posture took me years to achieve. I brought my knees down thousands of times first to create the physical strength and coordination necessary to keep my knees lifted and my core strong. It wasn’t an instantaneous process, but instead a slow and steady progression towards success. Because I had the passion to stick with it, this pose is now second nature to me and I am moving on to more advanced postures.
I just finished a workshop with Jennilee Toner to promote her new book “The Perfect Chatarunga” and I am trying to make her proud with my L-shaped arms. Check out the book online at http://www.theperfectchatarunga.com. She’s a fierce anatomy instructor and so inspiring.
Post-rainfall seems to be the perfect time to practice my chatarunga. Between the gentle raindrops falling on my back, the smell of the damp pavement and dirt, the chirping birds giving thanks for the cool bath, and the wet ground beneath my hands and toes, I am reminded to be present and to work with gravity rather than against it. The wet ground is also a great incentive not to drop to the floor afterwards…