The Sweet Spot (in Yoga and Divorce)

GaneshSaturday morning, my yoga teacher kicked off our class with a discussion about Ganesh, the Hindu god with the elephant head. Ganesh is the God of New Beginnings (which is why I have a statue of him in my office), but my teacher honed in on a different aspect of Ganesh:  his love of sweets.

“His trunk points to the bowl of sweets in his hand,” she told us. “Ganesh reminds us to search for the sweetness in life, to find that Sweet Spot.”

I wondered if she would give us candy at the end of class, but I was wrong. Instead, my oh-so-creative instructor found a way to equate “sweetness” with two very challenging poses (“sweet” or “sweat”??), which we worked toward throughout the class.

“Do the Ankle Dance!” She exclaimed while her students wiggled in Standing Split. I grabbed my own ankle and felt a multitude of miniscule adjustments happening in my body.

“The only way to find your balance is to lose it,” she suggested. “That’s how you know when you’ve hit the Sweet Spot.”

I know yoga is supposed to be about staying in the moment, but in that moment (as well as many that followed), my mind went into overdrive, comparing life (and divorce!) to yoga.

I considered the couples who uncoupled at the beginning of the year. For them, January was likely a time spent out-of-balance. Now that we’ve entered a new month, those people are likely feeling a little more confident in some areas. Metaphorically, they might feel comfortable letting go of their blocks and grasping their ankles in Standing Split. They’re reaching for the Sweet Spot, and in the process they are acquainting themselves with the Ankle Dance.

To an outsider, it might appear that Stability has been achieved. But for those of us in the depths of the pose, we know it’s an illusion. We know about the continuous adjustments taking place beneath the surface. We know the quiet struggle, the muttered profanities, the uneven breath.

We might look like we’re doing better, but we’re shaking and sweating. Still, we persist because we’ve made progress, and we’ve not yet attained the final goal.

With time and perseverance, the Sweet Spot gets sweeter. With practice, we learn the art of gaining strength through surrender. We accept the necessity of continuous adjustment and relax into the flow. We go deeper and grow taller. The pose is no longer a battle, but a building block, part of a grander design.

In life, we strive to find peace within ourselves. On the mat, we struggle against the laws of physics. In relationships, we struggle against others. In both cases, the recipe for success is the same:  show up, find the Sweet Spot, then relax and work through it, one miniscule adjustment at a time.

…and don’t forget to enjoy the sweetness.

Bird of Paradise

In case you were wondering… Standing Split was a stop on the way to Bird of Paradise.

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