When I make my weekly pilgrimage to the several studios I frequent, I expect you would think I am doing yoga.
My husband certainly thinks so.
… but when I am there why is it that I cannot find the breath?
It is always tucked up somewhere under my ribcage as I balance precariously in a pose Krishnamacharya himself would be proud of, though I am sure I look better in my own head than to anyone who would care to look.
Is this yoga? The classes have names like “Progressive” and “Advanced” but I am not sure. Where is the breath when the windows are steamed from 15 panting participants.
I have lost the breath and gained the ego. The very ego that I am supposed to be diluting, the very ego that splinters me from my peers and promotes a dualist state of mind.
What’s the point? I have realised that yoga should be, and IS, a moving meditation. Slow movements that ride on the breath.
In softness we find the breath, in slowness we feel the body. Each muscle quivering as we sit deeper. Slow work is hard work. Try doing ten push ups reeeeeeaaaallly slowly…
… but why should that be easy? or less strenuous? I often like to say these days that in softness we find the breath, but resistance can still be found and resolved by the breath.
When I utilise my diaphragm FULLY, that which inhabits almost my entire abdominal cavity – that IS hard work. I get really HOT.
I went to an Ayurvedic doctor recently. He asked me, “Do you teach physical yoga or spiritual yoga.” I nodded my wistful Yoda nod, deeply considering my answer before finally answering… “Both.”
I don’t know many teachers that do.
So those that come to my class anticipating to participate in an aerobic class, may go away disappointed. In my class tapas is about burning off the fluctuations of the mind, not your love handles.
And love handles they are – for you should love them, and pack extra for them as you meander down your life’s long path.
So let this be your Aha! moment. It’s harder to face yourself in a slow meaningful and mindful practice. Easy to loose yourself dancing in a fast vinyasa flow. No time to allow emotions to bubble up, no time to follow and examine the origin of each fear, each thought.
Your true essence of you doesn’t notice your Lululemon outfit, but your ego does.
So who is doing yoga? Are You?