While teaching a private yoga lesson last week, I was paid a compliment I never thought I’d hear, “You have one of the strongest cores I’ve seen. I want to know what you do to strengthen your core.”
Truth is, because my abs are not ripped, I don’t think of myself as having a strong physical core. But it turns out I do. And it’s not just strong, it’s resilient. I’ve noticed this in observing some of the asana videos and photos I post on Instagram as an illustration of process. I only do traditional ab work on an occasional basis (often in May before the pool opens). In my regular asana practice I breathe, I engage, and I let go.
Where I have felt, and do feel strong, is in the belly of my soul. This is only because, despite a lot of temper tantrums, my soul knows how to surrender. Today, instead of a traditional post, I offer a little poem. I hope it helps you recognize your core strength.
The change occurred in a whisper.
The precursor of which was fire and a prolonged scream.
A rage. A lament. A curiosity. A wonder.
An insistence that perhaps appeared foolish at the time
but is now understood as the risk of hope.
How does one become strong?
Through the ability to be laid bare.
To have your insides shredded by the beak of a raven,
and all that is unnecessary carried away in bloody strips
so that you are left with only the muscles essential to locomotion.
On the mesa, everything is naked.
A thing can hide between the rocks
Or take refuge in the sage brush.
Which is a daring choice.
To nest in the sage is to make a home
Sage will bring strength,
is fastened by the raw power of a vulnerable soul
animated by the whisper of God.