So yesterday I made it to another class thanks to the help of my mom who always is willing to come hang out with my daughter. What I loved about the class was that the teacher (and my dear friend) showed us some different ways to get into poses that I know well. What I love about this is the whole concept about thinking out of the box. It was a good reminder that by doing things differently, sometimes there is a great reward in store. This is excellent for me as I tend to get stuck in doing things ‘the right way’ whatever they may be.
As I was teaching some of the things I had learned later that day, lots of people on the mat opted out, feeling like it was just too hard. That’s totally understandable as some of these things were very challenging however, I found myself encouraging those who got stopped by fear by talking about inquiry.
Yoga for me is many, many things but one of the main things it is, is an opportunity to have a conversation with myself. This is not always a conversation of cognition but involves primarily an observation of the body using the language of my breath. Whenever I’m on the mat I keep asking, “does this feel ok?” “is this serving me?”
When I first began practicing and then later teaching I would often talk about the opportunity the mat offers us to have an IN the body experience. I once couldn’t even feel my back on the bed if I was laying down but now, through my practice I have developed an acute body awareness. I can feel where my spine is, my liver, my big toe and every time I come back to the mat I’m asking myself “what else?, what else is there available for me, what else is there for me to know?”
When we find ourselves in the face of adversity, trying to command the body in a foreign way rather than pushing and shoving we have an opportunity to breathe, to pause and to start to plant the seeds for the posture by our placement of the foundation, our hand, foot or even head on the earth. The slower we go, the more intimate this conversation can be, the more precise. Its in the precision of the placement of the body and the commitment to our foundation that we find the exquisite poses in our bodies.
Rather than bulldozing ourselves, can we begin to get quieter, softer, sweeter and source our power not only from the musculature of the body but from the stillness of our minds. Breath by breath we are invited to begin to understand ourselves in a more profound way.
So next time you are faced with adversity either on or off the mat, move slow, think clearly and as you move wait for the body to say yes.