Today in my practice I worked on a new sequence I have been playing with. It is a playful combination of core, inversions and arm-balances, you might call it yoga bootcamp. The peak postures are transitions; floating, flying, jump backs, crane to handstand, walking planks, boat to handstand rolls etc.
Sounds fun right?
But, what if you can’t do handstands? What if your core is not “strong enough”?
Well in that case you may found yourself frustrated, angry, injured and upset!
Why did I let myself get so heavy? Why cant I do this? Grrrrrrrr! Fuck this! I just want to master handstand and then I will be good! Why does she make it look soo easy? I was not built for this. This should be easier! Why is this so hard?
We all aspire to do great wonderful things but get lost in the whole process, our manifesting energy does not match our creative energy and we become stuck and frustrated and burnt out. What we forget is that the process is the point. The process itself is the path. Who we are being is also who we are becoming. You get to great without going through allright.
In Buddhism suffering is a result of attachment. In this scenario attachment is the desire for things to be anything other than what they are. The desire to just magically float, the desire to have a strong core, the desire to be skinnier,happier, richer and popular, however these things take, wait for it
Observe the sensations that arise without labeling, comparing, judging and criticizing them. With an inhale explore where the breath goes and with the exhale ask yourself where you can let go.Sit with the discomfort, without trying to fix it, change it or expecting it to be anything other that what is. Yoga is not here to make us prettier, skinnier or acrobats. Enlightenment is not a place to get to. It is a transition. Enlightenment means to “see yourself” because when we can see the way we are, we become active participants in our lives. We can begin to notice all of the ways we get in our own way. We can begin to notice all of the excuses and voices that prevent us from being awesome.
We literally are crazy people, walking around with hundreds of different personalities, voices, desires and fantasies playing out in any given moment. The work in yoga is to unite these in to a whole integrated and balanced system: To align our goals and dreams with our desires and passions.
Have you ever said? “That was not my intention”
Why is it that we have good intentions, and yet we still make the wrong choices?
How can we align our vision with our day to day activities?
Awareness is the first rung of the ladder. Awareness allows us to notice the excuses that derail us. Once we “get to know” or “see” our excuses, acceptance, allows us to work with them and transcend them.
Accept yourself just as is. In this moment you are not: Fat, ugly, tight, old, widowed, sick etc. When we begin to label, judge, compare and criticize we are no longer in the moment, we are no longer listening and observing, instead we are creating suffering and resistance. When we resist we feed our unconscious energy and loyalty to the very “stuff” that is preventing us from moving forward.
In the moment there is nothing to compare. In the moment there is nothing to expect. In the moment there is no suffering. In this moment I am perfect.
Have you ever noticed if you fall out of a handstand or a balancing pose and then right away try to jump back up out of frustration and you just get further and further away. I am not saying dont keep trying, just reset every time.
Today I checked of some pretty big boxes, as far as my goals go. I was excited and happy and then I noticed on facebook that somebody had achieved more: they had more students, mastered a cooler yoga pose, or had achieved something greater and in an instant I was un-happy. I was no longer enough and instantly I was suffering. Normally this “dis”ease might stick with me all day or week, permeating all of my thoughts and actions. Today, however I became aware of and acknowledged this “little girl” inside of me, this competitive, jealous and bratty kid that seems to lurk in the shadows. Without judging her I watched her and accepted her, just like I accept and understand my children when they fight over who has more juice in their cup, who finished their plate first, who is faster and so on. These shadow qualities are natural tendencies we all share. When we fight or resist them, we shame them and this only makes them stronger. It is like putting a lid on a boiling pot. When we observe them and accept them we can detach from them and then we can work with them, just as they are. This is where the hard work comes in. The discipline to persevere and stick with it, despite the struggles, discomfort and ugliness.
It may not be pretty, but in this moment it is perfect.
Here is a Rumi poem (special thanks to Ryan for sharing it with me)
A chickpea leaps almost over the rim of the pot where it’s being boiled.
“Why are you doing this to me?”
The cook knocks him down with the ladle.
“Don’t you try to jump out. You think I’m torturing you. I’m giving you flavor, so you can mix with spices and rice and be the lovely vitality of a human being.
Remember when you drank rain in the garden. That was for this.”
Grace first. Sexual pleasure, then a boiling new life begins, and the Friend has something good to eat.
Eventually the chickpea will say to the cook, ”Boil me some more. Hit me with the skimming spoon. I can’t do this by myself.
I’m like an elephant that dreams of gardens back in Hindustan and doesn’t pay attention to his driver. You’re my cook, my driver, my way into existence. I love your cooking.”
The cook says, ”I was once like you, fresh from the ground. Then I boiled in time, and boiled in the body, two fierce boilings.
My animal soul grew powerful. I controlled it with practices, and boiled some more, and boiled once beyond that, and became your teacher.”