A few days ago I began teaching my yoga class with the Rumi quote:
‘Life is a balance of holding on and letting go’
Because in yoga it’s just the same – often what we experience ‘on the mat’ is a direct mirror of what we experience ‘off the mat’ in life.
We can learn so much about our habits and our approach to so many things when we really connect to our body on the yoga mat. When we attempt to hold the yoga pose and find balance, we may wobble or fall, and if we allow our mind to quiet enough we can bare witness to how we handle the challenge.
So the next time you’re on the mat, observe yourself:
Do you give up?
Do you fall, smile and get back up again?
Do you fall and get frustrated with yourself, muscles tensed, face scrunched and push and push?
And you know, none of these is right or wrong, it’s just an invitation to enquire…..
Have you noticed that if you breathe, focus inward, allow your mind to settle and flow with your breath that you find your balance with ease and a certain effortlessness?
When you fold forward in Uttanasana (foward fold) – do you try and force your legs straight and go as deep as you can? Or do you allow your body to be where it’s at and open in its own way and at its own pace, using your breath as your guide?
Yep I’m a bit of nerd about this stuff!
I find these observations fascinating because I am constantly catching myself on the mat and in day to day life switching from holding on and letting go. I catch myself gripping my muscles randomly when sitting at a desk. I can feel the tension building in my psoas muscle and in my neck.
When I do manage to catch it, I have started to do a little internal ‘smile’ and send my breath to that part of my body and I quite quickly I magically begin to feel relaxation coming over my entire body.
When I’m on my yoga mat and I can feel that ‘pushing’ part of me wanting to go deeper into a pose. I try to catch it, let go, come back to my breath, my dristi (eye gaze focus point) and let be all that ‘is’ at the moment. Essentially come back to presence.
This I’ve noticed is a constant learning and balancing act between moving forward and taking action, mixed with finding stillness. Taking in all that is right now, and being grateful for what has been and where I am.
And you know what…….?
This stillness is peace
This stillness is real
This stillness is presence
This stillness is our balance point.
And it makes me feel more ‘myself’ than anything else.
As they say what’s ‘personal is universal’……
so I wonder, do you feel the same?
I write this article with you in mind. I share my observations and experiences because (I love writing about these things!) and in the hope that this ignites something within you – to maybe contemplate, or to take it a step further and explore without attaching judgement as to how your body communicates with you.
I find that the quickest way to come to this place is to use ‘prana’ – life force – breath. Through breath, we find the quietness in our mind, the stillness, the connection to our body AND to others.
Breathe deep . smile . let go . everything is ok