Each time we practice yoga we are given an opportunity to observe ourselves. The physical movements we go through on the mat expose much more than muscle weaknesses or strength. Our reactions and aversions to challenging poses, our attachments and ego trips when we are successfully or competently achieving a pose are all reflections of how we navigate and handle our day to day life.
So something struck me the other day, after a conversation with a student, when I heard myself saying yet again " you don't leave your practice on the mat when your finished and get off it - you are your practice - so it comes with you". It made me think about how my own yoga practice reflects this, how is it translated into my day to day life?
Here is a week of yoga practice I recored recently. Day 1 and 5 may be what most will see is a traditional yoga practice but what about the other days?
With a little awareness and the right attitude we can all draw on our yoga practices and incorporate them into our everyday actions, so life as it unfolds minute by minute, day by day becomes a living yoga. That self- care bodywork with a tennis ball becomes an asana practice , some moments of quite reflection when things get rough -meditation, a walk the opportunity for a moment of gratitude or the seed for mindfulness. A chat and a cup of tea, well that's it in a nutshell, to open our hearts and give the present moment to others in need is the truest most authentic practice of yoga.
I think it was meant that I met my neighbour's widow again yesterday, before I finished this post. Our conversation gave me the way to end this post. Her words to me carry the message I wanted to convey with this post. " I miss him so much, I feel numb, we were together 63 years and I know I can't but if I could I would live all those 63 years, good and bad, over again and this time APPRECIATE EVERY MOMENT."
It was a stroke of luck the other day that this picture - taken as I practiced fallen warrior - would capture one of those special moments in my practice - those moments I call "light bulb" moments.
Although fallen warrior implies defeat, surrender, broken... this pose actually needs upper body & core strength, open shoulders & hips as well as balance. So to practice fallen warrior we are exploring ways to build those qualities to heal and grow strong. However this type of pose can create feelings of struggle, vulnerability or stubbornness - a sheer determination to hang on in there and " hold" ourselves in the pose.
This picture catches the moment when instead of the usual position of looking directly forward I bow my head to earth...... wham ...the light bulb moment...... surrender but not a show of defeat. That moment when you "drop in", connect, surrender to a much powerful force than an enemy. In that union here I am strong but with ease, my heart open to all friend or foe, fearless showing vulnerability is an opportunity to grow not a weakness and I am humble bowing to that greater power. That power that has taken me from fallen warrior to a free spirit in a moment. Namaste.