I'm in the middle of Anya class, minding my own business, when the phrase "Break a Leg!" pops into my head and sticks. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard this while quaking in the wings preparing for an entrance onto the stage. It has become so familiar, that I almost don't even think about it anymore. I wouldn't want to actually break my leg. It certainly would be inconvenient to happen in the middle of class. And yet, there it was, tagging itself as my intention for the day.

So, I decide to just run with it (no pun intended) and see how it translates into my movement. And the first thing I  notice is that to commit to “break a leg” meant to move without fear. Not that I literally was trying to break my legs, but that I wasn't afraid of them breaking. I could let them do their job with confidence – after all, they are the experts on standing and balancing and walking and the like.

This release made me very aware of the tensions that generally do go on in my legs. Some people bang their heads against the wall. I'm definitely more of a bang my legs against the wall person. The legs do so much work anyway, and often it is easy to just release every frustration down into the legs, vaguely trusting that they can handle it. Only what a horrible idea! The legs have enough work to do without giving them extra hurdles to leap.

As class moves along, I notice that my legs are tired. And I realize that injury or exhaustion – 'breaks' – are really the body giving a cue that something isn't right - that it needs a 'break'. So maybe 'break a leg' really doesn't have anything to do with broken bones, but instead holding a dialogue with the legs in order to both have confidence that they can do their job, and give them confidence that they'll get a break once in a while. Then, you won't have to wonder if you are going to hurt your legs, because you will know what exactly they are capable of doing. You'll be able to move fearlessly, because you'll have a reference point to refer to – the legs themselves!

So no, while I'm not recommending you introduce yourself to your legs and find out their names (although that is certainly an option), you can treat them with respect and love. So give 'em a break and break a leg!

Written by Elizabeth Gray
Body Banter