Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Losing Resistance: Loosen the Set Up

It has been hot here these past few days and I've enjoyed listening to people's opinions and positions about it. For some, the heat totally colors their reactions to everything, and for some the heat rises in themselves, too, causing waves of standing their ground, or melting down. This heat is right on time for me since in some real ways I've been investigating resistance in myself. I am coming to the conclusion that my excuses can be endless, and it is my choice whether I accept them or not, or use them as conditions to change my decisions or actions. It feels a little bit like I'm listening to a child explain why they didn't or won't, or couldn't or can't do something, and deciding, as "the grown up," whether to gently manipulate them out of that position, or simply say, "okay, I accept that, let's move on." With a child it is not so productive to say, "that's just an excuse," but with myself it helps to see them so clearly. So now I am seeing "excuse" is another word for using conditions for a particular purpose, usually in my case to resist!

My style of yoga is exploratory, a yoga of inquiry, endlessly discovering the openness of possibilities in the breath. I am in awe a bit when I read blogs of others who are dedicated to a particular practice, as with the Ashtanga yoga, or Bikram or Iyengar etc. I definitely appreciate the discipline and dedication, the depth of understanding that comes from working within a defined framework. The depth is in the details.
Often for me to imagine that yoga is a particular specific sequence of physical events is a set up for judgment. What I can or cannot do, what I am feeling in that moment might present an urge to move in a different direction. Learning to listen to this urge or inner guide has been a major part of my practice. That is one of the principles of Kripalu yoga, letting the breath, or prana, move me.

Even so, it is easy enough to resist the yoga mat! It's better to keep it very simple and not front load my expectations or requirements: be present, be alert, breathe and be ready to experience what actually happens. Perhaps watching my mind run circles around is half the fun of a practice, or perhaps allowing the dog to run off the leash will leave me in the stillness beyond the undulation of my breath. It has taken me a while to learn how to let go of the sequences, the "this-before-that" thinking and listen to the inner voice of prana = conscious breath + living energy.

Last night I was breathing quietly in my hot humid room, with a fan blowing and an idea that I was supposed to be going to sleep. Ahh, another set up. Obviously I was not going to sleep. I was resting there, aware of drifting in a sea of light sweat and wondering about the tension in my shoulders. Exactly who set the rules that I was supposed to lay in bed until I fell asleep? And who is going to enforce that rule? What if I just slip out of bed and unroll my yoga mat? Already warm and sweaty, breathing in the dark, I hovered over my mat in Adho Mukha Svanasana, finding the breath taking me through a sequence of Trkonasana (triangle) and Ardha Chandrasana (half moon) where the length of my breath spread into the night air as my body elongated, in effortless effort. I did my final hip twists in bed, Supta Padangusthasana, and let Savasana take me to the stars.

1 comment:

  1. sarah - you are one of the most visual writers i know. you've painted such a picture of heat, breath, movement, sleep that i can literally feel the heat. but, i also now feel so incredibly relaxed. thx!