Softening, opening to grace, it is the 1st principle of Anusara Yoga and something that is so easy to skip over in our practice and in our daily life.
Today in my practice we were working on outer spiral in parsvokansana. So many people go into the pose with a negative viewpoint and are hard. They think that it will be easier if they barely square the front leg or they go the opposite root and bend over then try to force the front leg down. One of the keys to the pose is to start by softening. To breath in, to allow the front leg to soften into the hip, to descend towards the ground. There is an immense amount of space that is created by doing this. The pose becomes a real hip opener when this is done (of course with maintaining true muscular energy in the back leg and alignment.) This space allows you to outer spiral the front leg and really open up - open up the hips, open up the torso, open the heart, expand and feel the pose. If we dont soften the experience is no where near as enjoyable, freeing or open.
As I left class I started thinking about how this truly relates to our day to day life and was reflecting on how things have changed for me at work since I began practicing yoga. If we approach what we perceive as a difficult situation with a hardened attitude the experience is usually difficult. If we step back, breath, and then approach the situation we have a very different experience.
Through my yoga I have learned this and have seen what a dramatic difference it has made on how I handle the chaos of the work day. Things that use to get me worked up and crazy now seem so much easier. The constant craze I use to feel is no longer there. When I look at the reports I see that all the numbers are still there. It isn't that I'm doing less (I'm not), its that my approach has changed. There is a softeness. When a problem arises I don't go full force like a bull in the china store, I take time and breath.
How much easier life would be if we all stepped back, took a breath and softened.