In Favor of Opposition: How Polarity Rules and Fuels Our World

Jennifer Lee

“'The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.’ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up, 1936. Do you agree with this statement? Or disagree? Or both? Please be as specific as possible.”

Feet planted on the ground, I leaned into a menacing lunge on my right side. I extended my arms straight out to my sides and pushed them as far out as they would go. Then came the burn: an acute sensation shooting through my forearms and fingertips. I wastearing myself in two different directions, fueled by thestrength of a warrior.

After a deep exhale, I released my arms and legs, collapsing onto my purple yoga mat.

Opposition. It’s a principle that appears in nearly every aspect of our lives, yet rarely do we take notice of it. In yoga’s warrior pose, opposition is used to push the body’s muscles farther than you ever imagined they could go. You don’t need herculean strength – just the act of two forces moving in opposite directions enables you to do the unthinkable.