Now that we are clear, I believe we can also all agree with the Transcendentalists-- just being out in nature lends itself to poetry, “This world is but a canvas to our imagination,” stated Thoreau. He also said, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. “ So really, any movement of any kind helps not only the writing of poetry, but also the understanding.
Yoga, though, not only forces movement, but also the stillness. I’ve been thinking about that today because I did my first Hot Yoga class last night. I have been trying to do more yoga rather than my normal beat myself up workouts like running (I also teach Insanity). I have a few races and triathlons under my belt but, lately, I just have not wanted to do the hard training required to continue. Yoga feels different. The ego involved in competition takes a back seat. As said by all the yoga teachers I have practiced under, “This is your practice.” They instruct their students to just do what they want (yoga-wise) during the class. If you want to lie in child pose for the rest of the class— go for it. No judgement. So nice, right? And that’s how we should be treating ourselves—nice.
I know how hard this is for women. We are expected to be a lot of different things for a lot of different people and to be all those things well while we look perfect doing it. If we slip just for a moment on one of those things for one of those people, we beat ourselves up. That is certainly not nice. Emmerson, another one of those cool Transcendentalist stated, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” So true, and what a challenge to practice.
So on day 5 of our POETRY party, I introduce to you a guest you will not be able to keep your eyes off of once she enters the room. She will make you aspire to have the same confidence she exudes.
So, just as you please, take a look at this: Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou at http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178942
She is not “built to suit a fashion model’s size,” but we can still tell she is fine! The women envy her, the men desire her, the readers want to be her. And she wants us to be. She says,
“When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.”
This contemporary poem comes many years after Transcendentalism, but it is the embodiment of Emerson’s statement about truly being yourself. So when you need it: read it, pin it, post it, share it, tape it to your bathroom mirror. To echo the yoga instructors, it’s your practice. It is up to you how you use it. Just make sure you use it. It will help you be, as Shakespeare advises, "to thine own self true be true" and as, I advise, to thine own self be nice.