The Wolf You Feed.

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I jumped way outside of my comfort zone today and attended a Powerflow Workshop at Shanti Hot Yoga.  I am terrified of the word “Power”, it seems very intimidating and hard, probably way above my level of yoga skills. I avoid those classes for fear of looking like a wimp. Trying to head into it with an open mind was a little challenging, I was definitely having doubts about why I even signed up.

While I waited for class to start, the lady I was sitting beside said she was very unsure of her ability to make it through the workshop. Then another lady said the same thing. Then came a guy who made a joke about going to the back of the room just in case he needed to cry it out. You mean I’m not the only one who feels like this?!!? I was downright petrified about this workshop…I hoped for everyone’s sake that “Power” didn’t mean insanely-crazy-hard.

So the workshop starts and Stephanie brings us all together in a circle to have a quick intro and then begins to read the most inspiring story…


One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson

about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies,

false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

Well, that was probably the first time I thought to myself “You can do this” in regards to anything revolving around a flow class. I generally find it overwhelming and exhausting. Like I just do not have the cardio capacity to deal with a flow class. And forget about following through with a flow, I collapse half way down with my spaghetti arms shaking the entire time. I get intimidated by the “pros” and often try to keep up…which we all know is a complete waste of time because you just tire yourself out and your breathing gets all out of whack. So in the spirit of feeding my inner wolf, I decided to have some faith in myself and, at the very least, take my time, pay attention to my form, try my hardest instead of just saying “I can’t” the entire class…and breathe!

Ok…I can do this! YES I CAN!

Stephanie gives us an overview of what a flow is supposed to look like. Five seconds in and I’m going huh!? That’s not really how I do it. What?! Maybe that’s my problem…I’ve been doing it wrong this entire time!! She showed us the proper way to position your chest, shoulders, ribs, and stomach to reduce the stress of your muscles. She showed us how to move through a flow so that our arms were in the right place. Proper alignment was something I was obviously lacking because within the first few flows I was actually doing it…with relative ease. I do modified flows from my knees, as I just haven’t build up enough strength *yet* but just the difference from say last week to today was huge! Fifteen minutes in and I’m already so glad I came. My inner wolf is very happy…

Next was some partner work. We are going to be in plank position while the partner holds our legs, then the partner is going to let go of one leg while you use your core strength to hold it up.  Yeah, OK crazy yoga teacher. Ha ha ha. Funny. There’s no way…I can’t hold myself in plank for 30 seconds without wanting to cry and now I have to do it with someone else holding my legs and then letting one go?? I feel my inner, self-doubting, wolf rearing it’s ugly head.  I hear my partner say “ready?”…NO! I feel my leg drop a wee bit, but then I realize I’m actually holding it up by myself.  Well, hello stomach muscles! You may be buried under a few extra layers but I can feel you now! Oddly enough it all started to make sense…the more control you have of your core the easier you can complete a flow. Ding-ding-ding! Light bulb moment. I’m always so focused on my arms that I often forget about my stomach. Happy wolf is back!

We even attempted “crow”, which is definitely at the top of my list of poses I love to try.  I’ve never been able to lift my feet, but I’m down to just balancing on my big toes though. Stephanie had us perch on a block to raise us up a little higher. World of difference. So much easier to get in to the pose, and before I knew it…up came my toes…for a nano-second but still…progress!!!  We partnered up again and this time the partner stood by your head, and lifted your hips a bit to give you the security to get into the pose better. It was euphoric! Happy AND proud wolf is taking over!

We ended the workshop with a quick yoga practice, running through all the moves we had worked on. I will not proclaim to be a yoga superstar *yet* but I know for sure I improved my odds today! I did a two-hour Powerflow workshop and survived!!

I’m going to feed my good wolf before every class from now on. It’s amazing how easily you can fall into the evil trap of self-doubt or critical thinking. My evil wolf was definitely out in full force this morning but I’m going to box him up and bury him down somewhere around my big toe.  It’s hours later and I still have that yoga-high from a workshop that I was nervous to attend…I’m official proof that “Power” doesn’t have to be scary…but it can be it can be powerful.