Yoga And The Practice Of Vulnerability

Rachel Mack
Yoga And The Practice Of Vulnerability

A couple months ago, conversation with an acquaintance took an unexpected turn when she confided in me that her baby had been diagnosed with a serious medical problem.

It wasn’t life-threatening, but treatment would result in an outwardly visible difference for the rest of his life, and in the short term, it would be painful. She’d known for a few days, and was struggling to make sense of this new reality. I did my best to reassure her that he would have a good life and she would be a good parent to him.

Walking away, I wondered if I’d said the right thing. In retrospect I appreciate so much that she was willing to be vulnerable with me during a crisis moment. Even if I didn’t say exactly the right thing, her ability to share made it possible for me to be there for her, and the conversation allowed us to become closer.

Practicing Vulnerability Allows Others To Be There For You

A lot of life happens online, and in that context a little bit of privacy seems like a good thing.

I want to guard my privacy and I want to be a tough chick when challenging moments arise, but I have learned that opening up is a good thing. The benefits of sharing are worth the scary moments of vulnerability we feel when we open up.

Vulnerability is a gift you give, to others and to yourself. When we show our weak spots, it’s a chance for others to help us. For all of us, especially the strong-and-silent-types, it’s worthwhile to make a practice of being vulnerable. Let yourself be surprised by the kindness of others.

Practicing Vulnerability With Asana And Attitude

Yoga can help you build the courage to be vulnerable. Specifically, backbends are an excellent way to cultivate heart opening. A physically open heart leads the way to an emotionally open heart.

You can start with a simple backbend, like locust pose, every day, and work your way up to the deeper backbends.

You can also practice vulnerability in your attitude throughout your practice. No matter what pose you’re in, you’ll benefit from a genuine desire to give yourself over to the experience without trying to control it.

This is my interpretation of what some yoga teachers call “opening to grace.” When you open yourself up, you’re not hoping for a particular outcome, but you’re allowing for the possibility that new, unexpected things will come to you.