One of the themes I chose this month was vulnerability. I chose this because I realised that I have been feeling vulnerable, due to being in a new State, creating a new business, and trying to make new connections. Then I attended a great event on the weekend with a number of women speakers. One of the most common recurring themes was - surprise, surprise - vulnerability.
The dictionary defines vulnerability as ""exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally". Most of us avoid feeling anything negative, and so we tend to do what ever we can to numb, suppress or avoid feelings of hurt, shame, sadness and vulnerability. Yet, as Brene Brown says in her fabulous TED Talk on the topic, we cannot numb the negative feelings without numbing the positive. And so by avoiding the negative, we are also missing out on the joy, happiness, connection and gratitude we could be feeling.
In a physical yoga practice, we can learn to sit with any and all feelings and emotions that might arise for us. If opening yourself up and allowing yourself to feel vulnerable is something that you want to work on, then back bends and heart opening poses can help this process. By putting our bodies into shapes that leave us physiologically vulnerable, this can lead to feeling emotionally vulnerable. When we want to protect ourselves from harm, our instinct is to curl the torso inwards, rounding the shoulders and protecting the heart and belly. So by reversing this in a back bend or something like Anahatasana (Melting Heart pose or in Yin, it is called Puppy pose) can teach us to allow those feelings to come, without resistance or avoidance.
Developing the ability to be ok with our vulnerability can be a slow process. And just when we think we've got it nailed, something else comes along to bring out those feelings and our resilience seems to fail us. Be patient with yourself, and kind and compassionate too.