Sometimes a teacher will change up the movements of a sun salutation. Same movements, different order. It changes everything. I feel uncomfortable because I’m used to doing things in a certain way. But it shows me something new…
It’s the same feeling I have when my morning sit is atypical to what my expectations are. It forces me to listen in the quiet. These moments are the powerful ones.
I don’t know if I have wisdom but I do know that when I started yoga it was because I was unconsciously looking to change the world- starting with me.
If I could live in the present paying attention to how I was living and participating with the people around me I was bound to see a shift. That shift led to service. That shift led to a new career. That shift led to sharing my story with others who are called to serve forgotten populations.
I started small with a need to stop trying to control the world around me. Yoga has taught me to surrender to myself.
I think about this quote often. When I’m riding my bike home from somewhere I’m alert but also keenly aware of my connection with the outside world. I can only imagine that sense must get heightened on a motorcycle. Even when I’m tired I often take the long way home, just so I can extend the ride.
Slow can be the way to go. I’m in Martha’s Vineyard this weekend and my mom and I took a Yin class with Josh Montoya at the Yoga Barn. The class was slow, deliberate and taught without commands. I was given an opportunity to linger in shapes that worked for my body in the moment. Longer holds were sometimes challenging. A four minute camel pose was a slow build but one of more intense things I’ve attempted in asana in a long time. Sometimes faster doesn’t mean harder and you can run the risk of missing a moment of clarity. Holding camel pose for an extended period let me explore the my breathing as awareness glided over the front of my body from my head to knees. And though my monkey mind tried to wander off to escape the intensity it wasn’t possible. I had to stay put. Four minutes seemed like four hours. Time felt suspended. Focus shifted to the internal and I went from listening to the insects outside to noticing how deep my inhales and exhales felt. I didn’t feel like I was going too far. I realized that it’s important that I spend more time with this practice.
Yin is a way for me to begin again and again.
This list of ways in which I wanted to change change was endless. There was always one more thing. Then what? Would I be ‘perfect’? Okay? Passable? Acceptable? And by whom? The world? The person I was dating?
I won’t fault myself for wanting to improve but my thought process was out of order. Until I could fully accept myself in the present moment- no change was going to take place. Meditation allows for the present moment to be whatever it is. In those moments I’ve been able to decide whether change is necessary or if the longing to change is simply a distraction from my true feelings. On some days this is liberating. On others its terrifying. But what it isn’t is false or without intention.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Don’t wait. It’s that simple. And hard.
It’s easy for me practice non-attachment as long as it’s on my terms. But throw and monkey wrench into that shit and I get crazy real quick. Hilarious really. When this happens I’m painfully aware of how attached I am. Everything I do is on the path even when I can’t see where it’s taking me. Practice. Practice. Practice.
I love Saturday mornings. Zero commitments. My eyes open on their own and I smile, stretch and drink strong black tea in bed while reading the times and listening to my favorite NPR podcasts. The street below is sleepy and quiet.
I recharge. After, I’ll move to my meditation corner and do a longer sit.
These tiny movements, this gentle routine is one of the biggest ways I practice self-care. Nothing fancy. Nothing sexy. Simple. Honest. Real.
Take care of yourselves, y’all.