Fierce Grace founder Michele Pernetta explains how we can use the FG system to find mental equilibrium with a little bit of honest self-knowledge and the courage to confront the things that challenge us.
To believe that yoga is just for the body is to miss a world of experience and pleasure, an opportunity to process emotions, burn off mental anxiety, or to enjoy the freedom of mindlessness.
Although the Fierce Grace system is designed so each class balances us in a different way and with a different energy, and ideally one would practice all the classes - practitioners are still likely to avoid certain classes and just go to their “favourites.” I’d like to challenge this tendency.
Alpha or more outward, yang personality types and the very fit, often like to compete and strain and tend to avoid any “softer” more internal Yin style classes that might get them in touch with how they feel. If this is you, those are the classes you need occasionally to connect you with the parts of yourself you are out of touch with. Having a lot of energy and willpower is wonderful, but if you only practice this way you could become insensitive, disconnected from your feeling and tire out your nervous system.
More introverted, “yin” or sensitive people tend to be attracted to less challenging, softer classes, where they are not required to engage their force. If this is your tendency, try the disciplined or challenging class to develop your male energy as this will get you fitter, develop your willpower and strengthen your nervous system. Being in touch with your sensitive side is so important, but if you don’t challenge yourself physically you may find you feel unprepared for life’s difficulties. We see-saw between these two poles at different times in our lives and changing the way we act, through breath, exercise, turning within or without can have a profoundly balancing effect.
I was so Alpha that any soft class, with breath or “going within” used to make me impatient and angry. If that’s you, get into what that actually is – isn’t it interesting? Your fire is looking for things to burn, but it may just burn you if you aren’t mindful of it. More sensitive types can find challenge upsetting and frightening, they close down, "feel sick", get too hot, leave the room, make excuses. Look at this refusal to accept the challenge of life. Be patient with yourself but don’t succumb to this weakness. Life will not treat you gently so you may as well confront some difficulty and work on getting stronger in the safety of a yoga class.
As they say in the spiritual traditions: “Your ego is no one to consult about what’s best for you” so be prepared to do things you don’t “like” occasionally.
Go out of your comfort zone a little and get curious about the things you avoid, they might just be what could balance you.