Where are you...
in your practice,
Are you present,
still in your heart?
Maybe you are scared to move out of a stagnant place, pose or person?
You don't have to see the whole path.
You just have to take the first step...
Asana practice is very external when you first begin...
where your foot is placed,
where the gaze is rested,
what you do with that flailing limb.
We watch our instructors with ardent fervor as we learn the names of poses, how to adjust the pinch in our backs or that aching knee.
But there is a background reel playing the entire time...)the brain doesn't work well with multitasking). So when the brains starts reminding you of your fears, your anxieties, your tension, your discomfort, your emotions...
we misstep in our practice,
we get hurt.
Mind, Body & Spirit
...with the slightest discomfort (mental or physical), embarassment arises or even self admonishment...
we back off...
from a pose, person...even a situation.
we hover, helicopter, hesitate, over analyze, rationalize, reason, and explain away...
where we are and why,
maybe even blame others.
(That is if we even realize there is a veil over our own personal truth)
Yoga isnt about defining your abs or whittling away you waistline. It is an offering and opportunity to study your self.
Do you like the pose or not?
Where does your mind wander while you are in a pose?
We must be "present" to do this...
It's amazing how all our unresolved issues seems to rise to the surface and steep there a while when we are too comfortable or even challenged with our asanas. Yoga offers a magnifying glass to those things we kick dirt over and blissfuly smile and pretend are not there. The things we change the subject off of, laugh nervously about or "look away" from.
I see it happen in my studio all the time...
First, there is a physical discomfort in a pose
(Maybe the mind is not present... it is planning dinner or revisiting an arguement so our alignment is off a bit).
I see a student's mind wander, so I offer a variation or prop to ease said discomfort.
(The student's ego says "What the hell? I never use props. I need to push harder or just not even try. My teacher thinks I'm slack").
I am worried about said student getting injured, so I adjust my sequence or pace.
(Then all the others students are affected by this decision)
Because the pace or pose is adjusted, said student may lose interest because the pose isn't "hard" enough or rationalize it is too hard.
Now there is even more opportunity to criticize ourselves, our teachers or others...
even ruminate, fester over or get angry.
This is a path for myself as well as my students.
Watching this mental progression across the mat from me is painful...
it is for any teacher.
True understanding of what yoga is,
is knowing we cannot lead a student through this, take it away or absolve it...
(as many beginning students and teachers for that matter, think they can).
We can only help shine a light in the darkest of places.
It is a path.
You must find it, uncover it, explore it,
and walk THRU it.
(I WILL bring the tissues though!)
Ancient "yogis weren’t reading books to gain these understandings, they were reading their bodies and mind on the mat (and off)… not planning their child's birthday party or considering a "come to jesus" meeting with that pesky neighbor.
They then passed on everything they experienced, for later yogis like you and I to read all about – and then discover for ourselves on the yoga mat."
But modern practice and teachers aren't passing this wisdom most days. They just issue poses like a prescription to said pain or injury.
The poses are really, simply tools. Tools to excavate. And if we listen, the body will speak to us in many languages.
These languages may present themselves as Kleshas.
Kleshas are defind as obstacles of the mind that block you from truth. These "veils" are...
ignorance (thinking something is true when it is not like beliving we can't do Dancer Pose for an old ankle injury)
ego (I am my thoughts... I am not flexible enough)
attachment (wait..that's MY mat space, my identity, my belief)
aversion (sneaking out during handstands or even using props when they really aren't needed)
fear (not trying a challenging pose or pushing your boundaries)
your insructor calls firefly pose...
you immediately say "I cant do that (aversion) or I fell last time (fear) or I really don't like arm balances (ego protects our embarassment of not wanting to try) or even "I don't want to". (See arms crossed and defiant chest stuck out)
And so on. And so on.
This chatter (whether audible or mental) distracts our purpose...
is not balacing perfectly on our triceps...
what is the body telling us...
my external hip rotation is very tight...
am not flexible
should add a Yin class to my practice.
what is the mind telling us...
always fail at new things.
love a challenge...let's do this!
what is the spirit telling us...
feel silly doing this, like a circus clown.
my tribe embraces me fully no matter what my practice looks like on any given day.
The path that the mind takes on the mat,
determines the quality of your practice.
The path the mind takes in your life,
determines the quality of your life.
If we stop looking at the physical obstacles in our way on the mat and off and turn inward to the kleshas, we may find that those outward obstacles weren't really worth the time and energy we expelled on them. Maybe they were even just illusions we created for ourselves,
or falsehoods we were taught as children.
As my daughter and I walk the beach lately, we have noticed how many jellyfish are ashore.
Fear: She refuses to explore these beautiful creatures with anything but a stick
Aversion: We have to redirect the path of our walk because.."Ewwwww, those are gross"
Attachment: "We can't even enjoy OUR beach because these things are everwhere"
Ego: "SOMEONE should clean these up!"
Ignorance: She states she will not swim in the ocean now for fear of being stung.
We recognize these kleshas so easily in children!
Enters the "Veiled" Parent:
We make excuses for our kids to onlookers or laugh it off. We pass their chatter off as childhood ignorance. We agree with them or even let our own kleshas enter the diaglogue thus perpetuating another generation of shrouded minds.
Enters the "Aware" Parent:
We lead them to resources to study and learn.
We hopefully change their perceptions or keep working on them until we do. We even find that these are a food source for turtles and humans and although they CAN give a mild sting, it is very unlikely when brushed up against.
(Just possibly like that pose we are avoiding?)
Our practice, just like our life experiences (like nasty jelly balls) deserve respect but not fear.
So this avoidance of doing something we love..
and surf swimming...
these are all veils we must uncover to live our lives fully.
What if you changed one thought...
Would your experience with the pose..
the task at hand,
You may just notice by softening the thought...
the body and mind will soften...
and there may be more ease in the given situation.
We may even learn to adore these "creatures" that litter our path and cause us to stumble away from our truth.
your "experience of your postures shifts and changes...
your experience of those postures,
is dependent upon your thoughts and feelings
about those postures."
It is your life...
Part 2: We will take this a little deeper soon and explore the gunas, or states of mind, the general feeling-sense of your thoughts.
Read more at... http://theyogalunchbox.co.nz/the-beginners-guide-to-yoga-part-3/