Yesterday I unrolled my mat in my living room and for my 6th day of practice I wanted to try something new. I decided to download a podcast by Eion Finn. I chose solely on the length of time of the practice (90 minutes) and was not disappointed. Eion is a well-known teacher in the Vancouver area, we’ve met a few times but I’ve never had the opportunity to take his class. I thought a podcast provided me a good opportunity to practice with him and it fit well into my current lifestyle.
I really enjoyed the practice. A couple of things I noticed. One, when he busted out the last arm balance and then hanumanasana (the splits) in my head I was like “are you kidding buddy?” I was already done and preparing for savasana…I also had my eye on the clock because of the baby and because I was having a hard time staying present in that moment. As an aside, students, ditch the watch in class. Having a time piece really is just a mind game in class. If you follow your breath and take breaks when you need, it doesn’t matter what time it is. I also laughed to myself because I’m certain lots of people feel this way in my class sometimes too, “are we seriously about to do that?” The thing that’s great about being pushed to that limit is that when you are complete, you feel like a superstar.
The other thing that really resonated for me was Eion said that yoga is a healing practice where you get to be your own doctor and your own patient. This goes back to what I had talked about previously in terms of being responsible for your own practice. If you are on the mat and treating yourself with respect, dignity and compassion, you can push your limit as long as you are still breathing fully. There is so much to harvest when we are on our physical edge. Eion calls this the hedonic point, where there is a line between pleasure and intensity, that we stay on this side of pleasure but we are working.
Discovering this place in yourself is critical. Those of you who take my classes have heard me say that change doesn’t happen in the comfort zone. We don’t make change in our lives when things are comfortable because then there’s no impetus to change. I’m not talking moving out of your comfort zone like what socks to wear or what restaurant to pick; I’m talking deep work. Lots of us have to often be in or on the brink of crisis to create change in our lives. So what if we could recreate the sensation of that intensity on the yoga mat in a very physical way and create change on the cellular level with the breath?
In my very humble opinion, I believe Yoga presents us with a physical way to digest what is esoteric and spiritual. It stands to reason then, when we can’t figure something out in our lives, we can create change by being physical with our bodies, more specifically when we are being very present, moving and breathing with our bodies in a deliberate way. Yoga provides us with a physical way to work through that which is emotionally difficult; creating change either when the situation is upon us, healing past emotional injury by moving physical manifestations in the body or by making the body more pliable which translates into a mind that flows more freely. By eliminating rigidity in the physical, we eliminate rigidity in the mind as well.
By moving in your body with care and grace you have the opportunity to do great healing work. You can move into old injuries in the body, you can breathe through a current problem in your life and in showing up in this way on your mat you can create the foundation for a more happy life. When we feel free, we remember that we are free.