Friday, August 13, 2010
Beginning, and Beginning and Beginning
Like this very moment, each moment is simply this. As you read these words your eyes and mind follow along with whatever is evoked. That was the moment of that idea. This is the moment of this idea. In yoga practice on the mat, it is possible to experience each moment with more and more awareness. Becoming fully engaged in the moment does not require giving over entirely to purely sensory stimula nor to blocking out thoughts. Being present is an opening to what exists in the moment, and that experience is what it is, without any particular meaning or value.
Each step we take, we are standing on one foot for a moment.
Each breath we take, we are engaging our bodies in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Each moment we are fully aware, we are living our authentic lives.
So when we approach the yoga mat, letting go of all the clutter that gets in our way, or that attaches us to memory or projection, to assigning meanings and clinging to definitions, is really the first process. Following the breath is a good beginning. Settling the body so that you can be aware of your foundation, of transferring your weight to the earth, is a good beginning. Allowing your motion to be inspired by your breath, like a tree whose limbs do not move without the wind, is a good beginning.
In the midst of a twisted, balancing extension like revolved Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon pose) you can still begin with following the breath. You can layer in Ujjayi (ocean sounding) breath to help draw your attention. You can be in the middle of holding Utkatasana (chair or fierce pose) and begin softening your toes and the soles of your feet and feel the earth cupping your heels... yes, finding your foundation. Perhaps you are throwing yourself through a Surya Namaskar series (sun salutations) discovering your strength or lack thereof as you lower and lift, as you curve and rise, and can still simply begin by allowing the breath to be the engine that moves you rather than pushing your muscular energy without support.
In every part of practice we can begin. As with the breath itself, we forget and remember, each time remembering to begin with the breath.