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Shannon Brady

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Grace – huh?

thCAO9V45PGrace. I hear this a lot in yogi-land.  And yogi-land is  pretty much where I reside these days: practicing, teaching, talking about (to anyone with enough grace to let me carry on for several more hours), proselytizing (i.e. “dude who cut me off, you need to pull over and meditate!!”).

But grace, like many new yoga words creeping into my earshot, is a little elusive. What is it? Unless I pore through my growing library of even more elusive yoga tomes, here’s what initially comes to mind:

Grace. What ya gotta do – with head bowed, eyes squinted shut, fingers interlaced – before being allowed to dig into mama’s awesome lasagne.

Grace. The hot babe whose last name was Kelly and makes every other blonde (me included) resemble a troll.

Grace. The tutu twirler on pointe, sumo wrestler balancing 400 pounds on one thick foot, dapper French waiter with a giant silver platter of escargot floating effortlessly between tables.

I’m onto something, right?

Not so much, yogi girl. Sigh.

I tried flipping through the Bhagavad Gita (holy Jesus, these lessons take some serious concentration. Ants-in-her-pants yogi girl here has a hard time with this. Maybe a little ‘happy’ incense will help the meaning kick in. Kidding – really.)

In all seriousness, though, my morning practice clarified the meaning of grace to me big time. I didn’t need a book, another teacher’s explanation, or Webster’s to spell it out. During practice, I FELT it.

You see, I slept only 4 hours last night (note to self: please quit gulping down Starbucks contractor’s – aka dark roast – brew right before teaching the evening class), and awoke with a stiff left serratus anterior (re-aggravated old injury from too many chatturangas) and wonky right wrist (ditto on re-aggravation, this time from handstand flame outs).

But, dammit, this was my day off from teaching, I didn’t wanna go to anyone’s else’s class, OR take a time out from practice. So into my little home studio I went. And practiced with…


Yep. I chose to simply use grace – whatever the hell it meant – as my mantra throughout my 60 minute personal flow, and found my self moving softly, lovingly, slowly, and steered way clear of any movement that would cause pain. I finished feeling relaxed, connected, grateful, and, full of…


So if you ask me to define it, I’ll likely be rendered speechless. But some words, I think, are best defined without words.

Kind of a cool message for Valentine’s Day, no?


6 comments on “Grace – huh?

  1. Zen Doe says:

    Beautifully written, and brought a smile. Thank you!

    1. Thank you! Have a beautiful day 🙂

  2. Greg says:

    …as you were the epitome of Grace as I watched you float and instruct seemingly effortlessly amongst us students at last night’s vinyasa flow practice. Thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day!

  3. And you brought those ideas to a graceful conclusion…

  4. Bharat says:

    I use grace to refer to a gift from the divine. This can cover a lot ground, depending on how I perceive things. And by perceive I mean what I can know in a way that doesn’t necessarily need figuring out. By gift I mean when I feel lined up with the truest self I know. Through my gifts there are things that I can think or do or say that might help someone in some way, and I’m feeling true to myself. I don’t even have to be good at those things, just in harmony. Nice post. Thanks.

  5. I’ve also been contemplating grace. It is definitely difficult to grasp and I have strong associations to what grace means within Christianity so I’ve had a bit of unlearning and relearning to do around grace. But…I have decided that grace is a gift and in yoga we open ourselves to this beautiful gift. I suppose the gift might look or feel a little different for each person.

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