“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

"No forcing and no holding back" is a perfect way to describe a yoga pose. In the classes last week I shared the information about the vagus nerve's role in the parasympathetic nervous system and in overall-health, and how to strengthen the vagal tone. Health is a dynamic balance between relaxing and tensing. The heart rate speeds up during an inhalation and slows down during an exhalation. The bigger the difference between your inhalation heart rate and your exhalation, the higher your vagal tone and the better functioning of many body systems. During each full moon I find myself dancing for hours in the dark just like the last evening. It's a fluid way to tense up the body. I don't maintain an exercise schedule. Moving my body isn't something I plan for. It's done when I need to do it -- no forcing and no holding back.

Growing up in Thailand I was exposed to all kinds of music in almost every genre from classical to pop to oldies to country. My dad and I used to dance and sing chorus together at home. As a teenager I frequented dance clubs, a risqué thing to do in Thailand back then. I had to evade my parents and kept the activity secret. But I didn't have streaming music, good stereos or headphones so, going to the discotheques was my only option. Sure, there were people who went to the clubs for drugs and hooking up. For me it was purely for dancing. I knew I did nothing wrong and refused to hold myself back or force my parents to accept it. Dancing is singing with my whole body. It is an immersive act that cannot be done without music. I listen to the tune, close my eyes and move the body -- no forcing and no holding back.

When my dog, Jackson died last Christmas, the only way I could cope with the intense sadness was dancing my heart out, with tears streaming down my face. Music is a catalyst for loosening stuck energy. I have sharp and quick nerves that tune into fine cadences of vibration and movement. I can predict the next note and anticipate the next move even when hearing a song for the first time. To balance my hyperactive nerves, every morning I commit to focusing on my core feelings and heartfelt desires. We are mired in the confinement of social acceptance. I know I am disconnected when I indulge in disappointment. I am mindful of contracted thoughts--cynicism, pessimism and fundamentalism. To be truly big I try to learn how to be small and humble. To keep growing I return to the youthful heart and beginner's mind -- no forcing and no holding back.

“Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke