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Tag: yoga (page 1 of 2)

Sticky Fear

Perhaps you have encountered this in Hatha Yoga practice, or martial arts practice, or any other kind of art/sport practice, maybe. There is a particular pose or sequence that doesn’t appear to favor you much, and you, in turn decide that you don’t care for it either. But there is no avoiding it, and if you encounter fear (or suffering) while doing said pose/sequence, it becomes a bit of a sticky affair… because that negative experience sticks to you, hard. Actually, it isn’t the one sticking to you—you are the one holding on to it because it has now become part of your story.

A skilled teacher may allow you to carry that story for a while but one day, they will come up to you and tell you, DROP THE DAMN THING. Now, you may get terribly peeved at them. They don’t understand you, obviously. They don’t know how awful that experience was, how real and concrete that sensation of fear. How you could feel your legs trembling, breath quivering… and there they are telling you to drop it. As if it were that easy… BAH.

It takes a brave teacher to come say this to their student because it takes only a millisecond for that person to go from a beloved instructor to one “who just doesn’t understand me.” Or, one who is “pushing me.”

Hmmm, I was (maybe) that student but I am now seeing the teacher in a new light.

DROP THE DAMN THING is a concession, really. One day you are able to see that there is no “thing” to be dropped, and in reality, there is “nothing” carried over from your earlier experience of Shoulder Stand to the present one. Such a relief, no?

life reveals itself

Windows Blinds

Ever so often I fall into a pattern that makes me stop and wonder. (Ponder?)

A few years ago I was set in my yoga practice. I had found a teacher and class I really enjoyed, and I went regularly. I felt that my understanding of Hatha Yoga was expanding, and so was my level of body awareness. It was exhilarating in so many ways, just like yoga classes mostly are.

Then things began to change. Perhaps this was the beginning of my “hermit” phase when I weaned off many social and group activities. I stopped going to class—maybe the teacher was gone for a bit, too? I cannot recall exactly but I began to practise at home instead, and it was really enjoyable. The pace was my own, and so was the sequence of asanas. I could change things up as I went along; I could play music if I wished; I could rest as long as I wanted, and I could end with seated meditation. Of course, these solo practice sessions weren’t as energetic as an in-class one but I found that my experience of Hatha Yoga ran deeper, and it also felt that the asanas revealed their nuances to me over time.

I sometimes wondered if I was merely being my “lazy” self who preferred to hang out at home instead of going to class. But I also knew that that was not the truth—I simply preferred to “fly solo” sometimes.

Fast forward a couple of years… I found myself at a yoga class, and it was a fun experience. Perhaps the years of solo practice had prepped me nice and proper, and I was able to experience more depths (and heights, bends, curves, etc.) in the class. I became a regular, going thrice a week.

Then India trips happened (Nov-Dec, Apr-May), so I couldn’t go to class any more, and I was back to practising on my own… and once again, I experienced the joy of deep, introspective, solo Hatha yoga practice.

And then I found myself at the same spot again… so comfortable in my home practice, so reluctant to go to class.

It’s so funny, I know! A group class takes me “far” but solo practice takes me “deep.” I wondered if the India trips had thrown me off-routine, and that’s why it was a challenge getting back. Now I wonder if it’s something else.

Perhaps Life reveals itself to us as we are. Perhaps it is reflecting to us what we are. Perhaps it isn’t us that’s responding to Life but Life that is responding to us. Perhaps it was my own strong wish for solitude that manifested in a series of events that made it simply hard to go to a class. Previously I thought “Life is the way it is, hence I am the way I am.” Now I wonder if I have been thinking in reverse all this while.

Video: Yoga & Authenticity

As part of the takeover of the Instagram profile of abcdyogi, I made this video.

I feel that Yoga helps us lead a whole, integrated, and authentic life. If there is a point to the path of Yoga, this must be it. And whatever emerges from that state of wholeness is truth — plain, simple, beautiful. (Also, is Yoga even a “path?” Is anyone not on it?)