Recently, I heard a wonderful interview with Brene Brown, where she used the phrase “Strong Back, Soft Front, Wild Heart.” This immediately made me think of one of the central offerings of a Yoga practice: a balance between Sthira (Steadiness) and Sukha (Ease). In Yoga, the belief that our bodies are inextricably connected to our hearts and minds means that the pursuit of physical health has reverberations for our mental and emotional well being.
This balance between suppleness and strength has farther reaching implications into the realm of relationships, our role in our community, and sustainable social outreach. In the words of the great leader, Martin Luther King:
“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.”
Currently in my life, I am grieving the end of a romantic relationship. As I walk through my own natural, human layers of sadness, I am noticing how the practice of Yoga is helping me stay stable, strong and alert, in order to, paradoxically, hold my own vulnerability. In the same way that aligned posture helps reduce physical pain, allowing our own raw places of tenderness to express themselves, requires patience, discipline, and strength; as if holding ourselves from the inside. This is a paradox, but one that Yoga philosophy understands and invites.
Where, in your practice today, is increased strength allowing for greater ease? How is love supporting your power and power supporting your love? How do you sense a connection between a strong back, a soft front, and a wild heart?