Monday, April 21, 2014

The Beauty in Hidden Structures

We are so busy moving ourselves around in the world,  that, like buildings, we see mostly the facade in passing. One of the gifts of living in a transitional bustling neighborhood of a major city is that there is constant building and tearing down so that, along with facades, all the inner structures are revealed coming and going.

Walking to teach my morning vinyasa class, I was stopped in my tracks by this gorgeous metal support structure. Light pouring through parts of it, it's undulations, shapes, reflective nature and span was strikingly beautiful. Just half a block further on, there is another one of these -- so it isn't any one-of-a-kind marvel at all -- that is covered in all the next stages of building with no light in it, and few of its textures revealed. In a week's time, they will both be invisible above ceilings and below floors.

Class was all about this in a subtle way starting with slow rocking in the hip sockets to feel how the thigh bones seat and mindful rolling through the sitting bone supports, to reveal spinal support even as the weight shifts.  Eventually we moved into standing sequences, unfolding and refolding with the breath, and allowing the hidden structures to do their work deep in the interior of each asana (posture). Yet their presence could still be established, felt, and explored.

Walking to my next class I caught a glimpse of a building being demolished. It has stood for decades, though this demolition has been elongated over the last few years it is active once again. At the moment, the remaining structure is like a gem hiding in its case. I think of the breath, its textures, its stalwart nature, its foundational strength, its subtle delicacies.  How grateful I am to live in this moment in a human form that I can explore at so many levels, cultivating awareness of the details and technicalities and the grand scale of the overall plan!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Using what you have

Often I find myself making meals with leftovers or the ingredients that I find in my fridge. This can push me into typical patterns, or can spur all manner of creativity. There are people who see a recipe and go shop for the ingredients. Many will measure these with some care and expect results that resemble the description in the instructions. I see that I am not naturally inclined in that direction in my cooking or my yoga practice.

My explorations start with seeing what's obviously there, deepen into digging for complementary or supplementary ingredients and building the design from these. An overarching concept develops, balancing the intuitive growth of the design with my actual experience. The results are always unknowable, though not entirely unpredictable.

In my cooking this results in portobello-red cabbage-poblano tacos or millet-teff-rosemary-garlic-pepper sticks. There are plenty of examples of this in my eat2thrive blog. In yoga this can evolve into a practice focused on Virabhadrasana 3, evolving lunge into its dancing, flying forms, and ending up in supine one-legged poses and a sequence of Anuloma Krama (breathing in stages with retention of breath). Unlikely that I would take someone else's formula and follow or teach it. I see now that I had trouble as a child in my violin lessons for just this reason! I wanted to follow the sound and feeling as I experienced it. This seemed to flower in chamber music and chafe in the orchestra. I learn a lot from both contexts- especially that the path to discovery and joy goes in all directions. Makes sense to me now.

Admiration for effective methodology attracts me. This is where I learn from others. I can see or experience their ways and experiment while absorbing this into my own inquiry. Since taking yoga classes, I have been deeply moved by the unfolding of this kind of personally proven processing by teachers of various yogic stripes. The offering of what a teacher has experienced has a genuine ring to it -- like the sound of a crystal ringing. I am humbled to be among them now, masquerading as one of them while still stirring around in my own cabinet for this or that to shore up the hip here or the fearful mind there... Making sweetness in the posture while adding a bit of hot sauce in the mix.