Never in my life have I desired to be a graceful person. Smart, yes. Strong, yes. Compassionate, definitely. But never in my life have I desired to be graceful.
I think it started when I was a child. I was never the skinny winny many of my friends were. I was never the girl anyone had crushes on, those were always my friends. Most of my friends were guys, so being strong and athletic was more to my advantage than graceful. So I gave up on gracefulness in my body because, to put it bluntly, I was chubby, awkward, and uncoordinated.
In high school I prided myself on the fact that I could ski with the best skiers at my school and at the ski area where I grew up. I could ski anything. In fact, skiing was the only time in my life I felt graceful. I tell people all the time that skiing is the only time I feel truly in control of my body; I feel graceful.
But who can look truly graceful wearing all those layers?
That’s how I know yoga is changing me.
A couple of days ago after class, some women I practice with and I sat and talked for a few minutes. One of them, a yogi I really admire, said that her intention at the beginning each practice is to be as graceful as she can. I have not stopped thinking about this. The notion that setting this as her intention has definitely made it so for her. She is always complimented on how graceful she is moving through her practice.
I used to think that setting an intention that felt like it had more to do with looks was shallow. I’m not so sure any more. Setting an intention around grace means not only graceful looking, but invokes more grace into our lives. Grace is the notion that despite being imperfect, God will still favor us. Good things will happen despite our foibles.
In this light, it seems that to be graceful is to be refined. To put gracefulness into the world creates a refinement towards what is possible. To be graceful despite feeling otherwise somehow invokes grace. To invoke gracefulness despite being tired or stressed or upset invokes a kind of kindness from the universe.
In making these connections, for the first time in my life, I am hoping to become more graceful. More full of grace. More refined in my movements on the planet. This is my intention.