Skin to Muscle

Muscle to Bone

Photo Credit: N. Boenning
Hug in so that you can shine out.

Try something for me?

Please?

It will only take a second —

Stand in front of a mirror and extend your arms — muscles relaxed and fingers drooping. Not a lot of energy, right? Meh, right?

Now activate the muscles of your arms and hands. Hug your skin to your muscles and your muscles to your bones.

Did your fingers extend? As you contracted muscle, did you feel energy radiating from your center outward? Did you feel stronger? More Balanced? Brighter? Did your reach extend farther?

OK, experiment over. Now let me tell you a story.

There once was a woman who was invited to a yoga class. She went. She struggled. She didn’t really like it much.
She felt weak, tight and unbalanced. She watched her friends and other people in class. She compared her abilities to theirs. She felt inferior.
Despite all of her negative feelings, there was something about this activity called a practice that would not let go of her. She continued to visit the studio once or twice per week to practice. She liked the teacher — and absolutely loved the readings and thought provoking stories the teacher shared at the beginning and end of class.
Week after week, she started to grow stronger — more balanced and flexible. Months went by. The woman found herself looking forward to class. And then?
Wouldn’t you know it was time for her teacher to close her studio and move on?
The woman fumbled around from studio to studio, teacher to teacher, never finding quite the right fit. She no longer felt like she was growing. In fact, she sustained injury from striving to keep up with warriors on the mats around her. (Warrior is the name of a yoga pose.)
She quit.
Well, not exactly. She quit going to classes, but she did not quit practicing yoga.
She looked inside and listened to her body — practicing by herself on her living room carpet. Slowly — not trying to keep up or impress, she began to heal. She found strength in solitude by listening to her own voice.
Eventually though, she came to realize that if she was going to grow in her practice, she needed to head back to class. She needed a guide.
Again came the fumbling from studio to studio — teacher to teacher. The woman was wiser. She did not try to keep pace with the yogi on the mat to her left or right. She followed her own internal compass, often practicing with her eyes closed.
One day, she went to a class at a new studio, with a new to her teacher. She found her match — a guide that suited her growth.
The teacher always starts class with a story. She immediately established trust with her new student.
Like all good teachers do, the teacher finds unique ways to coax the best from each student in class. She generates a sense of community — an attitude of one for all, all for one.
To this day, the woman continues to learn from this teacher. When Sarah says, “Hug in, or skin to muscle, muscle to bone, or pull into your center,” the woman knows exactly what she means. She adjusts and is stronger — more radiant in body and mind.
The student understands that by hugging in, you can truly shine out — in every facet of being.