One of the many lessons Yoga has revealed. That there are two standout effective methods to shifting the deadwood that holds you down.
Deadwood can refer to anything that restricts your potential to stretch to your fullest possibility. And that can be physical, mental and emotional.
The situations, people, memories, places; basically, circumstances that cause you to resist taking up the fullest amount of space. And you can instantly see that all these words; stretch, space, resist, potential; they apply in equal measure both on, and beyond the edges of the magic carpets we label mats.
Method one; move so fast, create so much heat, keep going and going, shifting the negative from the depths to the surface as quickly as possible. The heat destroys the fuel to the negativity and literally transforms one low-frequency kind of energy into high-vibration health and positivity. You’re moving so dynamically, that there’s no time to quantify the weight that holds you down, back or in. You’ve broken barriers and created change way before you even had time to acknowledge or see what was in your way. In our household this is known at the Stew-ji method. We practiced this way with one of our awesome teachers at least twice a week for 3 years and he knew how to coax us into smashing imaginary barriers and creating new heights.
Method two; go slower, take stock, feel it out, stay where you are and sit with what is. You stay and admire the view, absorbing all the sensation, until you learn to sit beside what is, and iron out the edges into something smoother and more manageable. This method was introduced to us by another of our beloved gurus and we call this Play Light. There’s no rush, but equally no judgement. You change your perception from labels to sensate. It’s about really being in each moment; the sweet and the sour; letting everything being as it is, and acknowledging that feelings shift like weather; nothing static. Really, nothing really changes; it’s our perception and sense of being in each moment that shifts the landscape, and the outcomes that result.
Both methods are divine ways to change and create a more abundant wealth of health, love and happiness in one’s life.
Most yogasana incorporates both these methods; the yin practice has elements of shift if you involve some cleansing elements, or when you switch or transit from pose to pose. And the dynamic practice always completes with a long-held letting-go stance.
Both methods share some notions in common; that repetition is key; keep practicing, and stay with (or in) the things you want to run away from. Stay there until your perception shifts and your outlook is different. And both show that focus is key; in one it may be a more mental focus; forget preconceived ideas of what you think you feel, and instead really feel it; which, interestingly is a mental practice in a non-obvious way. Then there’s the physical focus; that heat is the element of transformation and raising the temperature inwardly allows all the deadwood to be burnt to a cinder; leaving equal energy to create good vibes, and that slowing allows all the temporary surfaces and barriers to melt away, allowing the self to sink deep.
Iyengar; one of the masters of modern Yoga, quoted these revelations beautifully; ‘the pose begins when you want to get out of it’ (note: this isn’t a strict quotation; but you get the idea; we think he said it a little more elegantly!). Yoga begins in the pose when you want to get out of it. Yoga begins on and off the mat when you want to get out of the situation; the lessons lie there. Life becomes Yoga when you want to run away, but you practice yogic tenets and roll with it anyway.
You’re in a pose/situation, and you can’t wait to run away from it, or change it, or leave it altogether. But if you keep going and trying, against all the odds; pushing with intention on the outcome, or on shifting your perspective from impossibility to I’m-possible (method one), or you pause and observe everything as it is, and challenge the prospect of your resistance and anxiety; not as how you think something is, or fear it to be (method two); then you have the opportunity to create change.
Creating change. Not sleepily walking through life, without feeling, observing or reflecting. Not judging others, or yourself by others’ standards.
But waking up and being true to it all, in every single moment.
You can’t practice Yoga without being present. You can make shapes; but that is not Yoga. To be ‘in Yoga’ means a huge degree of ‘listen-in’. And some times you’ll need one of the two methods; others you’ll need both.