Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Poses for the mind

Yoga practice gives us an opportunity to slow things down and digest our experience. I recall at a training a few years ago, Rod Stryker continued to warn us that we would do a long hold practice - not Yin, long holds. Other people were intimidated, but in my naiveté I was not worried. Curious though. When we began the practice I noticed how quickly and readily I would move into a pose, Warrior I. And continued to stay, feeling that this isn't bad. As the clock ticked and the directs to remain still and steady were coached, I started to notice feelings of agitation arise. Soon my mind was beginning to become really curious about how long were we really going to stay here. Not curious in a pleasant way - curious and angry. The Pitta fire was growing steadily as we stayed. I could sense the physical discomfort and the mental discomfort urging me to move out of the pose. I was at war in my mind and body and my tenacious nature. Eventually, I felt I could stay no longer. My spirit gave in and I gave myself over in trust that I would really not be harmed by staying longer. I stopped fighting the idea of being in the pose. And I stayed.

I survived the experience and learned some very powerful things. While I am quite willing to work hard, I am very happy to be in control of that effort. However, it was only through the eventual giving over of that control, that tenacious desire to be in control and do what is comfortable, that I was able to complete the practice. IN the debrief after the class, Yogarupa spoke of the first 15 seconds in a pose, we are still arriving there, getting into the pose. The next 30 seconds of the pose, we are managing the pose. But once we go beyond a minute in the pose, we are tapping into our minds willingness, it's tendencies, in the expression of the pose.

Challenges we meet in life really are no different. Usually the first few moments of the experience are not significant. It is as the challenge persists that we begin to develop our story about the challenge. We begin to resist, not digest what is happening.

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