SteadfastPosted: April 1, 2011
Today in yoga I chose a spot that is not my usual spot. Even when someone asked me if she was in “my spot” and whether I wanted it, I said no, thank you. It’s a small thing I’ve been practicing: not being so rigid about having to be in my spot. In yoga, in parking lots. (Though I have picked out some great spots in the lots I frequent — they’re truly easy in, easy out.)
The word “steadfast” came up in class today. It’s not a word I would have used for myself for most of my life. Loyal, yes. Persistent, maybe. But not until recently would I have said steadfast.
Merriam-Webster (that steadfast dictionary) defines it as “firm in belief, determination, or adherence.” That sounds a little hard and rigid, actually, which I don’t think really fits. But some of the synonyms do: constant, dedicated, devoted, steady, faithful, true — and even good.
To me it’s a word that connotes quiet strength and faith. In order to be steadfast, you need to have strength; you need to be able to hold fast and strong, and feel confident that you’re able to do so. But you can’t be rigid and inflexible about it, because that could cause harm and pain. The steadfastness must be malleable. There’s another great word. And oh my god, look what M-W says it means: “capable of being extended.”
(I’ll stop being a word geek now! Yes, this something we do regularly in my house: read the dictionary.)
It seems to me that being steadfast is what allows you to be flexible. It helps you to move through the world and through situations and relationships with strength and grace, firm in the knowledge that you’ve got a good foundation from which to work, from which to extend yourself.
And we’re back to Anusara yoga’s Universal Principles of Alignment: muscular energy = steadfastness; organic energy = malleability.
Being steadfast is also linked to presence, I think. Just being where you are and standing strong there, with the ability to stretch and extend, like a tree that can weather storms without breaking. It’s comforting to know that this is a quality I possess.