Falling with Grace

hope is an anchor for the soul

Usually, when I get on my mat to practice yoga, my world shrinks down to those four corners and everything that lies between. It’s like tunnel vision. Everything else falls away and my focus settles on me, my breath and my body.

It’s taken me a long time but I’m no longer self-conscious in class, comparing myself, my flexibility, my body to others around me. Through a lot of practice, I’ve learned to hone in on what my body needs in the moment – whether it’s a modification or a variation of a pose or child’s pose. I no longer worry that the teacher is going to think I didn’t hear him or her or that I’m being a “bad” student.

I lose balance and fall out of poses all the time. There’s an interesting reserve of kindness and compassion that emerges when I’m on the my mat that keeps judgement at bay and allows me to try again.

Fall, breathe, and do it again.

Fall, breathe, and do it again. 

But lately, I’ve been falling and it’s rattled me – on the mat and in life in general. Where I can usually dust myself off and stand up again, I find myself sitting on the floor and sulking (figuratively). OK, that might be an exaggeration but the Polar Vortex, snow days and potential snow days don’t help.

In yoga, this constant flow of thoughts is often referred to as Citta Vritti or the chitchat of the mind (that’s how I like to think about it). It’s the constant and restless conversation in our head and one of the true purposes of yoga is to still those thoughts – not eliminate them but still them as in acknowledging and then rewriting negative thoughts and stories into something positive, to see how those thoughts might be obscuring the true self or true reality.

Lately, I’ve been letting the Citta Vritti run rampant and bounce around like pinballs. Then I read this post by my friend Melissa about utilizing an #optimistflip. Then I read this post by my friend Martha and this line in particular:

“It’s our responsibility to live fully, which can’t happen when we hover in a corner afraid of what comes next.”

Stilling the Citta Vritti may mean acknowledging the emotions and thoughts that arise during difficult or uncomfortable times and stopping them in their tracks. It may mean not letting your thoughts hold you hostage (like refusing to get up when you fall). It may mean flipping your perspective.

But you learn to fall gracefully again, to get up and keep putting one foot in front of the other.


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    • says

      Hehehe I think that’s suuuuch a great attitude to always have, Gigi! That’s what I love about you.

      And hi Christine! It’s my first time here, but I was definitely impressed by this post! I realized that lately I’ve been having a lot of chitchatting inside my head and it’s starting to really irritate me, hah! I’m getting better though, through prayer and remembering that everything in life is a work in progress.
      Ellie@Fit for the soul recently posted..Valentine’s Cupcakes with Andes Buttercream FrostingMy Profile

      • says

        Hi Ellie! Thanks for stopping by and reading my post and wow am I embarrassed that it has taken me so long to respond to your comment! I’m so sorry. The chitchat inside our heads can be really distracting, right? But I think you said it best – life is a work in progress.
        Christine Yu recently posted..Friday Round-Up: Good VibesMy Profile

  1. says

    I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for years and yet, I still compare myself to others in class but not as harshly as I used to or as often. I can find a serenity in my own potential and even on the bad days in class, I always leave feeling better. Yoga isn’t as much about what I can do or achieve, it’s about being and doing. Sometimes that doing winds up being less than what I want in my head or the being isn’t quite in line with yoga thinking (I curse every single yoga teacher when I have to do chair pose – every.single.time) but I still go back and have somewhat of a different experience every.single.time I go to yoga.

    Thanks for including my #optimistflip post. I’m still trying to walk that walk. I’m getting over being sick and I’m trying not be overwhelmed by life in general and damn, it’s not easy. I did get to watch a whole lot of “Friday Night Lights” so it wasn’t all bad.

    It’s good not to be alone in the thoughts of frustration and attempting to right yourself while recognizing the difficulty in doing so.

    Sending you warm and sunny thoughts from CA my friend! xo.
    Melissa Burton recently posted..I Confess – A Night With The English BeatMy Profile

  2. says

    I have the mind chit chats lately – to the point that I’ve convinced myself I’m dull and boring and story-less, and what am I doing here. It’s stopped me from digging deep and writing the way I need to. I feel stuck. Fallen, for sure.

    I don’t know if I’ve done it with grace. I do know that I will get up and take it one step at a time. Once I quiet my mind. :)
    Alison recently posted..Through The Lens Thursday #7: DullMy Profile

  3. says

    I always appreciated that about yoga practice – the fact that the teacher would say “If you can’t quiet your mind, just acknowledge the thoughts and let them pass.” It made me feel like I wasn’t the only one with crazy brain! I try to do the same off the mat – just acknowledge that I’m having these thoughts but let them PASS.
    Allie recently posted..Is It Work If You Don’t Get Paid?My Profile

  4. says

    I love how you use your yoga as a metaphor to life. You know these words resonate in my heart, and that I have a deep empathy for you. We would never be upset if a child messed up when learning to play a new sport, then why do we treat ourselves so harshly? Fall down enough times and it doesn’t hurt anymore–and you gain a deep understanding for others that fall. With every fall, we learn, we grow, we become stronger until finally one day we learn how to, as you say “fall gracefully”.

  5. says

    For me, ballet was like this. It was my own world even though I was in a class of others. It’s hard not to compare yourself to a full class of others dancing around you, seeing them in the mirror. But it feels so good when you can just focus on you. I’ve been letting my Citta Vritti take over lately.

  6. says

    I think everyone is feeling a little crazy right now. I’m stressed about work and feel like I’ll never catch up. The work is piling up at the same rate as the snow. I could definitely use a reset. Or at least a decent workout to quiet the constant chatter and to release some pent-up energy. Hang in there, mama. We can make it to spring together!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Thanks, Coach: A Guest Post at A Dish of Daily LifeMy Profile

  7. says

    I love this post. I love the idea of taking thoughts captive and flipping them around. Sometimes simply stepping back acknowledging the negative chatter and redirecting our thoughts is so much more powerful than “doing it perfectly.” There’s a lot of strength in that.
    I also love what you said in the beginning about the way you feel so focused on the mat. I feel the same focus when I’m on the track. For some reason I love the track, almost more than the road.
    Sarah @runfargirl recently posted..Treadmill Workouts to Keep the Mind and Body EngagedMy Profile

  8. says

    I find it harder to fall gracefully in winter (literally AND figuratively) – I just fell on the ice for the first time as an adult. I always brag to people that I’ve never fallen on the ice, only stumbled. And recently I FELL and it hurt and the soreness lasted for a few days.
    I suppose it could have been a lot worse.
    I took it personally, though. Felt like something must be out of whack with my energy. On the bright side, I wasn’t holding Des as I often am while walking on the slippery driveway.
    Tamara recently posted..Time To Get Juicy With Valentine’s Old School Blogging!My Profile

  9. says

    My GOSH that is an awesome quote – I LOVE it and it is so true, we can’t be afraid of life, or ‘falling’ literally or figuratively. ever. it’s not even worth it to do, for that matter. Your words just speak to me so much lately friend!
    Jolene recently posted..The guilt prison.My Profile

  10. says

    I don’t really do yoga and when I do it is just me at home so falling isn’t such a big deal. But, I get the whole falling in life thing – some days I feel like I’m not making any progress (in certain areas) because I just keep falling and there comes a point where it is is hard to get back up, like you said – gonna keep trying though!
    Kim recently posted..What Would You Do?My Profile

  11. says

    Ohhh! Christine… Thank you for the shout out. It’s been tough for me lately, and that one line just fell out while I was typing. Loved how you connected the message to yogic terms. You’re the best!

  12. says

    Thanks for sharing this Christine! Your posts always inspire me to look past the physical benefits of yoga and see how it can influence our wider life as a whole…..I’m considering booking myself on a course……..eeeek!

  13. says

    I read this days ago and thought you may have written it for me! My brain has been so chit chatty lately. About the business and what I’m fearful of and matters of the heart and school closures and bills and the list goes on and on and on. thank you for the reminder my friend – about the illusions we create and live with and how we can change this perception any time. xo
    Ilene recently posted..Mixed VibesMy Profile


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