“the maximum amount or number that can be contained or accommodated”
“an individual’s mental or physical ability”
This word has come up a lot for me these past few months. One thing after another has challenged my perception of my capacity to handle them. Some moments I felt were completely beyond my capacity until I remembered each time that I was capable of expanding my capacity. It requires effort and paying attention, but to me, there is tremendous power in having the ability to expand, to create space for the unexpected. Unlike fixed objects in this world that abide by the first definition, we as humans are limitless beings with infinite possibilities in this life.
Physically we explore the capacity of our body every time we step onto the mat for asana practice. We explore various shapes as we learn about our body’s structure and patterns of movement. Once we gain that understanding, we can intelligently challenge our body to create changes that expand our capacity for strength and flexibility. Think of how many changes you have experienced along the way. Perhaps tight hamstrings limited your ability to bend forward, but by practicing poses that lengthened them, now you can bend forward with greater ease. Maybe holding plank was limited to one breath and now you can stay for one minute. And we can all share in one way or another, the thinking that something physically was not possible until we did the work and the impossible became possible.
Our mind perhaps is the biggest thing that can limit our capacity, too often clinging to the rigidity of thought without asking where that thought came from. Our entire world is shaped by how we “see” it. What if we were able to change how we see or that which influences how we see? Here again, is the work in yoga. Meditation and mindfulness not only affect how we perceive things, but it can change the structure of our brain and stimulate areas that process emotions and thoughts. I think we’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of just how expansive the capacity of the mind truly is.
Our emotional body can become easily fatigued, especially when going through trauma or facing back-to-back events that are challenging or cause grief. They may weigh so heavy, it can feel as if our hearts will break, and in a way of protecting ourselves, we harden and close our hearts. Tending to our emotional capacity often requires a softer and gentler approach. I find the practice of gratitude and compassion to be the most powerful way to soften and open the heart. The depth of heart space, and what it can hold and offer is truly profound!
None of these are separate from the other. When we work to take care of one, it supports the work in taking care of the other. True wellness means we have aligned the mind, body, emotions, and spirit together. This wellness will govern our ability to continually grow and evolve as a being, and to expand our capacity to experience this life to our fullest and highest potential.
Blessings to you and yours. As always, we look forward to seeing you at the studio.
With love and gratitude,
Laura McKinnon & SYS FamilyCategories: Yoga & Mindfulness Blog