What does it take to truly give and receive?
Giving to be able to receive
When partnering in dance, it is important to give your weight to your partner. You have to give weight so that your partner can lean into you as well, and together you can use the weight to stay in balance, to give it direction or to create momentum.
I remember having a hard time with really giving my weight to my partner. I was shy, or afraid to ‘bother’ the other person with my body weight. Because of that, a real duet wasn’t possible. I didn’t provide my partner something to lean into. Because I didn’t give myself, I couldn’t receive the weight of my partner's body. Such a paradox! I wanted just to be of service, and instead, I gave nothing and therefore made a creative exchange impossible.
So. I learned to find the balance. I experimented and researched, and found out how to give and receive at the same time. So that I could co-create in movement.
Yielding into your support
The same thing happens when moving through yoga asanas, sitting on a chair or walking in the street. Yielding is a concept that is always applicable.
You can experience what I mean, by feeling the extremes that hold us from yielding; cropping or collapsing. If you are sitting on something while you read this, tense your whole body for a moment. Sit on the chair or floor, but try to take your weight away from it. Then after that release the tension en and collapse into the support underneath you. Now find the middle. Do not collapse or tense. Find ‘yielding’ in between.
You can also imagine that you are giving weight to the chair and that the chair is coming up to meet you at the same time. Both you and the chair are giving and receiving each other's substance.
Yielding in yoga
In ashtanga and power yoga styles, there is a tendency to use to much force, in muscles that do not need it. Which creates unnecessary tension. The body is working too hard, and the muscles are getting stiff and unable to receive support.
Cropping might also happen in the breathing, or in thoughts! When there are a lot of negative or limiting thoughts while you practice, it is hard to have your full body yield into space and the support beneath you.
By checking in regularly in your poses, to see if you are either tensing a part of the body or collapsing (they always come together, when one part tenses something else will collapse as compensation). If you found the tension, then try to find the middle space, where you give weight as much as you receive support.
Blocked or flowing energy
There is another reason why finding the yield makes such a difference to your practice.
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, there are only two ‘states’ the body can be in: either the energy is flowing, or the energy is stuck. When the energy is flowing there is health and vitality, and when the energy is stuck there is pain, injury or stiffness.
I train Chi Kung since seven years, and since then I judge a healthy practice only on that aspect: Can I keep my energy flowing while doing it. And that is where Yielding comes in as well. When you find ‘yielding’ there is no obstruction in the body. Hence it will improve your energy flow.
Giving and receiving in daily life
I like to remind myself of this principle a lot. In movement and daily life. Whenever I go through a yoga sequence or when I am in a dance class, I ask myself; where can I find more yield.
When I interact with others, I check in with myself where I am propping (protecting myself by tensing up), or where I am collapsing not showing up fully, not giving my full attention. Checking in with the extremes helps me to find the middle. Often when I take the unnecessary tension away, it already makes a big difference.
Want to experience this for yourself?
In the upcoming Yoga Dance Class, I will dedicate a full class to yielding. It’s gonna be playful and interesting, and it will leave you with a skill that you can apply to anything in your life. Curious? Come and dance on Saturday the 25th of March.