How much of human life is lost in waiting? - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lately, I've found myself going through the motions in my asana practice- five breaths in a pose and then onto the next one, never actually landing. Waiting on each pose to be done, with my head moving steps ahead of my body. It wasn't a huge leap to see this playing out in my life. With my job and relationships a bit unsettled, much of my thinking has been spent in the future- when 'xyz' happens, I will be happy. This type of thinking pushes you forward and you miss out on the now. Life is a string of transitions, but not waiting is hard! So how do we stay present during transitional times on and off the mat? How do we stop wasting time waiting? In my asana practice, the missing ingredient has been curiosity. To pull myself back into the moment, I have been trying to approach each pose like it's new. Some questions I have been asking myself that have been helpful: How does the breath feel in this shape today? How do my feet land? How does it feel to take up space in this shape? Where do I feel comfortable?
And when the urge to move on arises, I try and stay curious about that, too. Where is that coming from? Can I breathe in a way that soothes the agitation? How am I being here?
So this month, my practice and classes are a *bit* slower than usual, and it can be frustrating. But this approach can make a pose that you've practiced 1000 times feel fresh, and build an appreciation for the seemingly mundane parts of life. How can we all land better in each moment? Can we recognize the urge to jump forward and get curious about now instead?
Part of why yoga is so powerful is that it provides the time and focus to strip away everything that is not right now. And when the practice continues off the mat, the life that is actually unfolding around you every day will be more apparent. Instead of looking to confirm all of the negative, fresh eyes might see evidence of all of the good things in the world.
I believe in the inherent goodness of all people, that we are hard-wired for love. In reality, maintaining this belief takes hard work and practice. I set daily intentions of staying open and strong and trusting in love, and my asana practice is a physical reminder of this intention. So this week, I practiced & taught Warrior 1, a favorite pose requiring strong roots, flexibility, connection and trust. A grounded pose to reveal the heart. A reminder that to stay open takes both hard work — real action — as well as release.
About this blog
This blog, together with the occasional newsletter, will be an active space to share thoughts about yoga on and off the mat. Please let me know what you like and what you'd like to see more of. And as always, thank you for the gift of teaching!