Ever been driving somewhere while another person gives all the directions… and noticed really, you don’t know where you are at all?
Well, I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for years now.
But I’m beginning to realise, I think, I’ve always been a little bit afraid of my home practice. Even though I’ve had one on and off for years.
Partly, it’s because I’ve always felt like I don’t know what I’m doing.
Not sure why that is exactly, given I’ve had (in my humble opinion) one of the very best yoga teachers going, at my disposal once a year. My Guru. That man is an absolute font of wisdom and love, and incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to asana. He’s a true explorer of the body and mind’s capabilities and it shows in the way he teaches.
It’s not the fault of the teacher or teachings. Perhaps I’ve just had a problem listening – maybe a crack in the pot?
And then, of my fellow students, many are yoga teachers, too. So I’ve had plenty of resources. Yet, for the longest time I felt embarrassed that I didn’t know as much as them, as though I couldn’t possibly catch up. And I let that hold me back.
Why? Because I haven’t known where I was.
And the yoga studies course I’m doing right now is finally showing me where it is that I am.
I have books, notes, homework to mesh with the practical work.
For the last few weeks, we’ve been focusing on standing asanas (beneficial for developing strong foundations). Actually, we’ve practicing them against the wall – if you ever wanna check your alignment while doing yoga, this is a fool-proof method to discover if you’re kidding yourself or not!
And right now I have an injury, so I’m hyper-aware of how I move my body.
With each asana, I pronounce the name in Sanskrit and English, and check my handy visual notes (works well for a super-visual person like me). Once I’m there, I check my body internally and externally… am I where I think I am… am I fully extended… are my mind and my movements as one… where are my feet, my hands, are my legs strong… am I breathing deeply?
Feeling my way through the asana, guides me to the right place.
I’ve performed Utthita Trikonasana (see picture above) innumerable times.
But tonight… a warm trickle of understanding ran down my left temple. With it, a flash of happiness and something of a stake in the ground.
Learning exactly what I’m doing, not just approximating what I remember from class… now that’s a very different experience of yoga.
And perhaps of life, too.
Am I where I’m meant to be? Hard to know for certain, but if I go by feel, sensation, finding something to align myself with, I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Yeah. That sounds like a plan…
Because there’s nothing like establishing strong foundations. Especially when one’s life is awash with change, as mine always has been. Always.
But no one can tell you that. You have to find a way to stand up in the face of all that change, on your own.