I’ve thought a lot about and pursued integrity lately, to be completely true within myself and in the world, to be whole. But today in my yoga practice, I was meditating on alignment, feeling the parts of myself connecting, lining up. Can you be in your integrity and out of alignment?
- arrangement in a straight line, or in correct or appropriate relative positions.
- the route or course of a road or railroad
- a position of agreement or alliance
I’m on the eve of a new posture—recreating a relationship of primal importance, where I spent many, many years outside my core, outside my integrity. I’ve been drastically misaligned. What does it mean to find alignment in myself here, in a relationship that has both formed and malformed me? A relationship that has been broken and that I have been broken in. A place that used to be my ground, but where the ground gave way, fractured, faulted, and so much fell into the chasm. But I return now with the ground under my feet solid, sturdy, and fecund. I return to the part of myself that exists in this relationship, to find how I can be aligned.
Alignment in yoga has to do with arranging the parts of the body in relation to each other, to build strength and mobility, to prevent injury, and to create aesthetic beauty through the posture. (Yoga Alignment Guide)
Alignment comes from the core, holding the core as central strength and radiating outward to the configuration of limbs. What is central is interior, but the strength of that center enables the exterior to shift, to find postures and ways of being, ways of holding the self in tension and finding ways to breathe, finding strength in the holding, mobility in the stretching, creating beauty in the forms built by the body.
I know finding alignment here will require holding and focusing on my core—the center self I know deeply in my ground–the woman at the river, the person my partner sees when she looks at me with a gaze that makes me want to look over my shoulder, except that I’ve learned and am learning to believe—it’s me she’s seeing. It’s the part of me that connects with the sacred in the light of the moon in the desert wind, that stepped out into the unknown because she knew with finality that this love was true, was the truest experience that had ever rocked me. If I hold myself in this core, find my energy and strength at my center, I can stretch outward in all directions, I can lean deep, I can twist and hold.
As much as I love Whitman’s line, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself,” I don’t want to contradict myself. I want to feel one hand touching the earth, grazing fingertips on grass, and the other, all the way across my body, stretching in the opposite direction, reaching far, fingertips glazing the sky. Opposite directions, held in tension, aligned in a perfect line, fingertip to fingertip, not contradicting but connecting opposing poles of being. There is an alliance between earth and sky. There is a path that connects the two, dispersed as far as they are. The path runs through my body, as I touch the two in unison, gather the meeting in my core, aligned.
Finding alignment in myself, I can connect to other people, to places, to ideas. My self is multiple; my core is a unified whole. If I am aligned from my core, radiating outward, I can hold the parts of myself in appropriate relation to each other. The seeming contradiction of the daughter who loves and desires approval from someone who has taught her her sexuality is wrong with the part that’s learned a rugged defiance, an unapologetic embrace of my queer, non-binary self, and a strong rejection of all that does not embrace them–can be held from the core.
The core holds the true self, the self who loves both my partner and those who have harmed me. From that love and inner certainty, I can hold in my outstretched and open palm the part that fears, the part that wants approval, that wants safety in a place that’s not safe. I can hold it from the core in the appropriate, relative position–acknowledgment, compassion, acceptance. This part of me is connected to the love at my core, but it is not itself the core. Holding to the love at center, I can hold my fear and my need loosely, like I hold the sky, and connect it to the ground, the place where I can walk forward and move from love and not fear. I can hold others with my own feet firmly planted and not need to be held back. I am held at my core. I am balanced here, can lean, twist, and hold. In alliance with all parts of myself, centered in this core, I can step into the multiple paths that various postures of being open into, can create new forms of beauty.
2 thoughts on “Finding Alignment”
Beautiful reflections on finding alignment within oneself, both physically and emotionally. It’s inspiring to see how aligning oneself from the core can bring together seemingly opposing parts of oneself and create a sense of balance and harmony.
Thank you for reading, Vika! Yes, it’s a rewarding path to follow–trying to find a balance between these different aspects of self. I’ll look forward to checking out your work!