Orchids always catch my attention with their slender stalks and flamboyant petals. They look delicate, but the blossoms, if properly cared for, can last for months. Their strength is in the long growth period that slowly builds nutrients in the stem. This is the way we build strength in our yoga practice. We practice standing poses like Tadasana and the Warrior Series. And, over time, we build foundational strength by holding our arms, torso, shoulders and head just so, like a well-situated blossom on a sturdy stem.
Now, I find a mature orchid, in a pot, always has a wooden stick to support it. I wonder why this is. Was the plant forced to grow too quickly in a hot house, is there insufficient space for its roots to go deep? I don’t know, but I’ve seen orchids in gardens and they stand on their own when allowed to grow at their own pace and have sufficient room for the roots. The balancing is taken care of as the plant grows to maturity.
When we rush our growth it, can look like we’ve achieved our goal whether it is a yoga pose, a good piece of writing, or a well cooked meal. But when we work in a rushed manner and push through, we could be cheating ourselves. To achieve our goal, we can rely on props, steal someone’s work, use pre-packaged food. But when we take the time, honor the rhythms of our body, use healthy ingredients, we can produce beauty and strength. Of course, we can’t slow down life in the modern world, but we can create moments when we take our time. In those moments, we reflect life and growth in the natural world, where an unforced rhythm can produce a miracle. Like the petals on an orchid fluttering in the breeze.