Another secret revealed, is that the method you desire is not always the method that will serve you best. We’ve written about this before (in fact, all of our words; like the postures and sequences themselves, are just repeated over and over; with some small shift in place; in the hope that one day, one sentence will land and make sense; opening the world wide for your potential and freedom to play your version of your own music). But the times when you are tired, exhausted and literally dragging your feet; heavy with the weight that holds you down…you may think that the slower practice would serve you best. But in the search for balance, you’re probably going to be better served by moving dynamically; no matter how impossible that may seem right now.
And equally, the opposite can be true; you may feel energetic and be craving a faster practice or perspective…but slowing down is probably going to bring you a state of equilibrium.
So, in a world where dynamism and multi-tasking is treasured; where you’re meant to catch the tube, breakfast in hand, iPhone calendar and emails checked, coffee to-go and a million chores to do, all in the name of progress and perfection. In that kind of world, it’s probably going to serve us better collectively to slow down and actually acknowledge the feelings within, and approach the situation in a balanced way. But, of course, the practice one is likely to crave in this type of world, is more movement, less attention.
It isn’t that one method is ‘better’ than the other, or will fast-track you to enlightenment or abundance quicker. Yoga is about recognising which one serves you best in each moment. It’s about realising that each is the same, but in a different form.
We move from living passively, to taking control of the chariot we name life.
The truth is, that the sticky, tricky, confined spaces are the ones that are full of possibility to creating expansive change and joy. That the things we’ve been taught along the way, aren’t actually the lessons that serve us best.
Think of it like this; yoga is practiced barefoot. If you walk along the sidewalk today, you’ll likely be wearing some shoes, because that’s what humans do; no other animal on the planet does this, but we do. But, by wearing shoes, you’ll miss all the opportunities to feel the earth beneath your feet; the change in texture, the sharp edges of stone, the coolness of shadow and the warmth when sun drenched. You’ll miss the sensation of how the weight transfers from ankle to toes, and how the weight meets the earth in equal measure to how the earth pushes up into the feet.
Now, remove those shoes and you get to feel it all; cold, warm, sharp, smooth, temperatures and textures in all their glory. You’ll even notice the way you walk; the distribution, spread of the toes, gripping, curvature and letting go. Life is like this; If you walk upon a sandy beach, you’ll likely want to run, because you can; there’s little in the way of causing injury. If on shingle, you’ll probably want to go slow, so as to avoid all the edges cutting in or digging in. Yoga teaches us to run over the sharp edges and feel the smooth; and to seek out the grit on the sandy paths. These methods switch our perspective, and allow us to undo the patterns we have adopted, and return to the wild and untamed nature of being.
This will make no sense, until you practice Yoga (the capital ‘Y’ as opposed to the small ‘y’oga). It’s like learning to walk on fire coal; it’s all in your mind; there is a resistance if you set out feeling you are going to burn your soles. But, if you can change the power of the mind, you can walk unscathed over a hot surface.
Sometimes, the opposite of what you believe will do you good, will get you to a deeper understanding of life, of self. And you’ll learn a lot along the way.
This is why it is a practice. And a balance. It’s like following a recipe; each time you try to replicate it, the outcome will be different. You add a little of this, and a dash of that; you change the temperature setting, and the equipment you use. And the outcome changes. One day it’s perfect and delicious. The next, you missed a step or left an ingredient out, and it’s changed.
Some of the changes are intentional; others will be natural. Every repetition is different; no matter if it looks the same.
The important thing is to remember that there are so many lessons. So many gifts in each moment. And that the beauty is, you are gifted this time and this life, to keep experimenting and challenging yourself. To keep crafting and changing and challenging and expecting.
That all that is required of you is to really observe and listen. To watch and get familiar with each and every ripple and sensation.
Because life is short. And the only way to really get the most out of each and every moment, is by being truly, deeply in each moment. That if you are going to walk along this path called life, and you want to really feel every moment, you need to take your shoes off, feel the earth, look around and observe each moment.
And it’s a practice. If you want the lessons to seep deep into your bones, and become part of your everyday existence, you need to keep trying. The state of sleepiness is cosy and inviting; it’s hard work being out in the elements of awareness; where you face the storms and the tribulations that life has to offer. But only from those spaces can you embrace growth, and transformation, on your own terms, in your own rhythm.