Where Can You Soften?

Life. Yoga. It's all about the softening.

I recently started structural integration, a form of bodywork that works the fascia throughout the body to release old ways of moving and being. It's an intense process. The work is akin to deep tissue or trigger point massage in intensity, but works on the fascia instead of the muscles. Apparently, fascia encases all the bits housed in our bodies--muscles, organs, the circulatory system. Physical injury, poor posture, trauma, and the like can cause the fascia to get gummed up or stuck. This causes chronic pain and tension. And all the muscle massage in the world won't fix a person if the fascia is causing the problem.

Anyway, I completed my third of ten sessions and today we worked on the side body. Imagine a line that bisects the body into front and back halves. We worked that line on each side of the body. During today's session, my hips and ribs surprised me when they were sore.

These aren't areas that I give much thought on a day-to-day basis and so finding soreness there gave me pause. I had to remind myself to breathe through the painful parts and relax, rather than fight the work. I could hear the voice of my favorite yoga teacher in my ear.

"Where in your body are you gripping? Where in your body could you soften?"

They are wise words that matter on the mat, on the massage table, and in life. Too often when I run into a painful situation or emotion, my instinct is to resist. Instead of softening, I guard my heart and tense in anticipation of the blow.

Anticipating pain or discomfort never makes it easier. And holding on to the tough moments or sore feelings or bruised ego keeps a person from being able to heal. So, instead of resisting what is, what if I softened to it instead? What would happen?

I imagine that life would be that much sweeter in the good times. And that the tight and painful parts of my life would heal faster if I just stopped fighting them so hard. 

How can you soften to what is, right now?