Our relationship began in a bewildering, emotion-filled blur. Or at least it felt like that was the beginning. As it turns out, my gluteus medius had been there all along, at the back of my pelvis, waiting for me to notice it, quietly supporting me as best it could as I gallivanted around believing I could do it all by myself.
When I finally noticed it and allowed myself to be truly supported by this faithful friend, it was such a relief that the tears flowed and I realised what I had been missing all this time.
Stability. It’s an underrated thing. In life we’re encouraged to achieve, be daring, do it all, have it all. We need a stable foundation to do these things. But stability often takes a back seat. It’s not exciting to look at. The same is true in yoga – there is a desire to get stronger and more flexible, and it’s hard not to compare ourselves to the yogi next to us in class or on our social media feeds. Cultivating stability, while vital for moving us beyond those blockages and boundaries we’re so keen to overcome, doesn’t feed our hungry egos.
But stability can bring us back to ourselves. It means holding back in our asana practice, not pushing ahead as far as we can go. Letting our bodies keep us safe while we challenge ourselves. Feeling the power of micro-movements in each moment of each pose. It reminds us that yoga is not about the shapes we make. It’s about what happens on the inside.
And that is exactly what my beloved gluteus medius has taught me. As the fire and the tears subsided, I developed a new-found appreciation for this stabilising muscle. We spend a lot of time really being with each other these days: as I stand cleaning my teeth in the morning, as I walk to and from the train station, as I climb the stairs. When I allow it to do its work in my asana practice, my standing poses feel light and effortless with a strong and grounded foundation to move from. My sensitive sacroiliac joint feels supported and not stressed by my practice. I feel such gratitude for my body and what it can teach me.
And I think to myself, ‘this is yoga’.
Photo credit: background by The Database Center for Life Science via Creative Commons