Marrying the Masculine and Feminine in Your Yoga Practice

Every time we show up to yoga, we are a new person. We are at least one day older (more if you've been skipping class!), in a body that is a little older, maybe creakier (especially if it's morning-time), maybe sore or tight if you've just worked out, or maybe limber and bendy if you've been practicing regularly. The bottom line is that it doesn't really matter what your practice LOOKS like. What matters is how it feels, the qualities you cultivate within it, and the qualities you cultivate within yourself. And even then sometimes you'll throw all "cultivating" out the window to just roll around the floor for a much-needed release of all efforting or stress in your life.

Just as I have you set an intention at the beginning of class, one aspect of yoga that I've loved over these last eight years of my own practice is also playing with different physical intentions to keep things interesting. Some days I'm focused on getting a challenging pose, other days I'm just going easy on myself and making it through. It's a dance between masculine and feminine, trying and releasing, challenging and surrendering. 

The next time you come to your mat, consider and observe how the qualities of masculine and feminine both come into play:

  • Masculine: strength, focus, challenging yourself, exploring your various edges (strength, flexibility, balance, fear, etc), an intention of advancing your practice from class-to-class
  • Feminine: grace, flow, softness, breath, poise, a sense of being regal within each pose, making the transitions as graceful and important as the poses themselves -- almost with a dance-like quality.

For this month: 

  • How can you flow and challenge yourself WITH grace and ease?
  • How can you feel into your body and almost glide through the poses in a meditative state, even as sweat drops are flying off your forehead from the more challenging sequences?
  • Which of these two is your comfort zone, and where do you have room to experiment a bit?