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Walking the Tipping Point: Three Ways to Balance Strength & Flexibility

Summer is here: surfer girls in action

There is an irrefutable truth: only out of great strength comes immense flexibility.

While in the midst of yoga practice it dawned on me I was most flexible in my body where I had the most strength. Conversely, where I lacked strength, flexibility meant stretching beyond my limits. Meaning moving outside of my boundaries and comfort zone. Where I lacked flexibility I was rigid and found leaning into those dark corners of my body caused an imbalance in other muscles and joints proving some Asanas (Postures) challenging and potentially dangerous if not carefully navigated.

Pinpointing the middle between flexibility and strength is the obstacle we face on the yoga mat and in our relationships. The middle ground between exertion and assertion. What’s the best way to find the happy balance and how can we translate this to our relationships?

 

1. Understand that any path will require divergence
I love getting lost. I often find the only way to find anything repeatedly is to get lost, repeatedly. I know both of my favorite cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles, so incredibly well now because I’m constantly finding my way. Navigating after you’ve skirted the edges of Skid Row is optimal and then it’s time for the fine tuning. Similar to relationships we push boundaries and loose boundaries but are rudely shaken out of it by a good fight or a good cry. I have found these painful moments, or “the in between”, when you’ve gone slightly past your comfort zone and ignored your boundaries therefore, often resulting in an argument.

Most arguments stem from one or either party having previously either neglected their own boundaries our disregarded the boundaries of others. The great thing about that is it’s a learning experience. Without the boundary test, the getting lost in emotion, how could you possibly learn to avoid it in the future?

 

2. Draw a physical list of deal breakers
Creating a list of boundaries won’t hurt because in the day to day we often forget them. I recommend writing them down and revisiting them daily. This will remind you of where you feel you may have been a bit too forgiving and where you could have given a bit of wiggle room.

 

3. Walk the line
I have a theory we must all walk the line. Talk to the tipping point and stare it straight in the eye.

A fun way to look at this is imagine you’re in a bar, and you see a man or woman across the room whom you desperately want to meet and something is attracting you toward them. You can play it safe or you can risk getting rejected. There is a fifty-fifty chance you’ll get rejected and vice-versa. Walking the line and staring at the tipping point would be walking right past the person, pretend to trip and see if they help you up. This way you’ve come to the tipping point and you’ll discover immediately if you’ll be caught before you fall. Literally.

There are many ways where we can push the limits in our day to day. My suggestion is to not try it at the expense of others but ask yourself daily, “where could I have pushed farther today?”  Be honest with yourself and tell your truth. While it may be painful at times to lean into your tight and dark spots, if you slowly move in and stretch into them with consciousness then light will slowly creep in. Eventually, so much light comes and you won’t be able to help yourself but to walk right into it.

Be the light.