I'm back. It's day twenty one of the thirty days of yoga madness and today, good people, it's been all about the 'Finesse'.
Bearing in mind that my understanding of the word, Finesse, is that it's when something is done with subtlety and grace, I was a tad worried. This is not the word that springs to mind when I am mid shoulder-stand. Thank the lord this challenge with You Tuber Adriene Mishler is an at-home thang, otherwise the outcome of all this could be very different. I doubt I'd be speaking to you at day twenty one, put it that way.
As I walked to school with Little Lad this morning (Big Lad was still poorly and at home with his even more poorly Dad), I watched him as he moved. He was on fire today. Mainly because he'd gotten up extra early to finish his homework project, which was to draw a picture of the Queen and label it with facts about her (she costs the taxpayer a bomb, she perpetuates the class system, that kind of thing).
As he swayed his little six-year-old body down the road, jumping over pavement cracks and dodging puddles, I could see a kind of finesse there. The smoothness of his step, the delight in every move. It was so natural.
And when we started running because he was so excited to hand in his picture of the Queen to the teacher, I made a comment that it was amazing his little legs could run faster than mine. To which he swiftly replied: "That's because I'm just carrying my little self and you're carrying your big self."
And there you have it.
From the mouth of a babe, quite possibly the best philosophy I've heard this year.
Because he's young and carefree, and quite rightly couldn't give a rat's ass what anybody thinks of him, it afforded him the ability to move with such ease and grace and enjoyment that he was totally out-running me. Even with the Queen under his arm.
I am obviously old and decrepit and - at times - far too bothered what other people think of me so even without the Queen in tow, I couldn't compete with Little Lad's natural, well, finesse.
So when I hot-stepped it back up the hill to home after the school run, gave Big Lad another glug of Calpol as well as some smooches on the forehead, checked the hubby was still breathing (no joke) and finally rolled out my yoga mat, I decided I'd be taking a leaf out of a six-year-old's book.
The focus in today's sesh was on finding some grace in the transitions between the poses. An invitation to pay attention to the way you move and synch up with the breath (as always) to enable a smoother ride, a lighter experience. So there was still a fair amount of effort (those damn goddess squats - my thighs were on fire!) but some ease was added to the mix, some beautiful Sukha.
Effort with ease. Ease with effort.
And much later on today, when the fire in my thighs had cooled and Little Lad had sashayed his way in to his weekly youth theatre session, I had but one hour to do some much-needed food shopping. And even though we were in dire need of Doritos and Marmite, could I not still make an effort to find some ease?
Yes indeed I could.
So, inspired by yesterday's resolution to get out of the house (school runs don't count), I power-walked to the nearest beach and sat alone, yes alone, on a rock for a whole fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes of listening to the water rippling, the seagulls cawing and dogs barking in delight towards their distant owners. There was a rose tint to the sky that settled itself masterfully on the rocks, on the water, on my cheeks. I felt blessed to be part of this falling of dusk, this closing of day, as the warmth of the daylight slowly ebbed away and the cool of the night fell into place.
I was tempted to strike a yoga pose then and there on the rock but I think I'll save that for the summer. Doc Martens do not lend themselves to a shoulder-stand.
Anyway, I thought I'd leave you with a little bit of that bliss. It's just over a minute, but if you can do what I did, close your eyes and let the sounds fall around you with nothing but finesse, then you're in for a treat.
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