If I asked if you have seen The Princess Bride, I'd predict quite a few or you would say yes. I remember the very first time I saw that film. I rented it from Blockbuster and watched it multiple times. It's iconic.
For those of you who have seen this film, do you remember Vizzini? Do you remember what he repeated over and over when facing truths and rejecting them? Pretty sure you must ...
Oh he said it with the actor's signature lisp, but the word echoes in my mind as clearly as the sound of his voice.
I thought of that the other day in my morning yoga session. We were invited to take Child's Pose at any time during the class. If things became too much or we needed something different, we were given permission to "Take Child's Pose." Whether you do yoga or not, that name might cause you to automatically assume it's a simple, quiet less active place.
But for the first time -- at that very moment -- it hit me that Child's Pose isn't necessarily a "quiet pose" after all. That what the instructor was asking me to do didn't mean what I initially thought it meant. To coin another PB phrase ... Let me 'splain. No, there is too much ... let me sum up. Well, just let me 'splain first. :)
In yoga, as in most exercise classes, you follow directions. Someone talks, guiding you into poses and through various flows. That's one of the things that I appreciate. During that hour, I don't have to make decisions. I am told what to do and where to move. I am asked questions and prompted gently concerning the direction my mind should think. During that time, I gratefully release control to someone else who guides me where I need to be.
That's nice. Really nice for a control-freak, type AAA organizer. During class, I am released from the stresses that come from decision-making. I don't have to plan dinner, create a shopping list, tend to my kids, deal with work stuff, run through that conversation I had or plan to have with a friend and its potential implications, decide whether I'll make that call or write that text, determine which show to audition for, manage the budget ... well, you get the idea. During that hour, I don't have to make any decisions at all. I just follow the prompts and do what I'm told.
In a way, you'd say I'm like a child ... following the directions someone gives me. Like Steve Winwood advised ... Roll with it, baby. So at yoga, I just go with the flow and do what I'm told. Child-like, right?
Um ... (and here's what I figured out so pay attention now!) Not. You see, as I reflected in class, children aren't that simple. They don't just "do what their told."
My daughter, despite every possible effort, refused to EVER drink from a bottle. My son, no matter how many times I beg, plead, instruct, cajole or even speak emphatically, never fails to leave his dresser drawers wide open. Nope, doesn't close 'em. No idea why. But I can't seem to affect change there. No matter what I say, there are times (not always but times) that Children Won't Listen. They won't do what they are told. They will follow their own unique path and do it their way.
Back to the idea of Child's Pose. While at first I considered this "opting out" and doing a more simple stretch, that isn't it at all. During Yoga, that's Inconceivable because you are still working and growing and evolving, even in that pose.
So again, Inigo Montoya's clever response to Vizzini's repeated remark ... "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means ..." is spot on. Child's Pose isn't going quiet. Such an idea is Inconceivable during Yoga just like it is in life. It's actually taking me deeper.
Pretty cool, those Ah-ha moments.
Children are ever busy with their questions and exploration as well as their high energy and amazing sense of wonder. They do things their way from a very young age ... sometimes, like in the case of my daughter, a very VERY young age. And though you can guide and suggest, they make their own decisions, discoveries and mistakes. They don't follow pre-established instructions. They are active in shaping every aspect of their lives and their achievements.
So, then, it is Inconceivable to think that Child's Pose is just a still, quiet pose. It is Inconceivable to think that during Yoga (or life for that matter) all I am doing is following a set of outlined, pre-established steps and instructions and if my to-do list isn't chock full of activities than I'm really, truly inactive. Though I "go with the flow," the way I do it and reach a pose as well as what I'm experiencing as I get there is anything but inactive or simple. No ... I'm being guided intuitively to reach inside myself and learn or grow or stretch or celebrate or ... well, whatever it is that I need at that moment. That's what we do every single day.
Taking Child's Pose isn't opting out. Instead it is a meditational, quieter pose that challenges us, like children, to reach deeper and explore different aspects of our selves without movement to distract our thoughts or bodies.
Ever sit still for 5 minutes? That ain't easy. But that's taking Child's Pose ... it's quiet, yes ... and contemplative, explorative and perhaps helping you find what you need at that moment.
Taking a "simple" Child's Pose? Well, that's Inconceivable.
So when encouraged to become more child-like, consider what Inigo said ... "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means ..."