Saturday, May 31, 2008

Change is the Only Constant

Recent Reader Query: I had a new experience in yoga class yesterday. I have been practicing for a number of years and have always enjoyed the time on my mat. However, yesterday was the first time I truly wanted to run out of the room. The heat was the same. The teacher was the same. And, heck, the postures are basically the same. So, why the change?

But, you are not the same . . . we never are on our yoga mats. The beauty (and, in this case, the "curse") is that our minds and bodies are in different states each time we step onto the mat. My guess is that something in class triggered a feeling that already existed within you. So, the question is- what, in your life, is making you want to bolt for the door right now?

The other possibility is that you've hit a plateau. Instead of venturing back to the same class, with the same heat and the same teacher, why not take your mat outdoors, visit a different studio, try a new style of yoga, or throw on your iPod and "freestyle" a little bit during your own home practice?

Most importantly, don’t get too hung up on your unsettling practice. Remember, it’s just that- a “practice.” It’s not a performance; it’s not a task to check off your list or a challenge to conquer. It’s a window into your life, an opportunity to hone your vision and clear away mental debris and physical toxins. The temptation to recreate your yoga in the image of the rest of your life is tempting. Instead, reserve your mat as a place of absolute truth and non-judgment. Relinquish the urge to find immediate answers to the questions that arise or make things look tidy and neat at all times. This exercise will serve you far more than the moments and practices that feel fluid and flawless.

Finally, I’d like to share the following passage from Rainer Maria Rilke. I think you’ll see why.

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

1 comment:

elena said...

aw, rilke...i've been reading lots of his lately. i've also been feeling similar boredom on my mat and a lack of desire to even get on it - particularly in the same room with the same heat. the other day i literally stopped amidst a sun A and found myself gazing into the far left corner of the ceiling, for no particular reason other than to complete a day dream and put together pieces of my imagination...hmm, i kept moving though. the day before that, i found myself staring out the window in dancers, watching the AA meeting members (particularly the guys) that had gathered on the hill outside...hmm...my resolution - take it outside! i mean, i finished the practice, but lately i've been scooting around the city for a quick 2 mile run before i squeeze myself into my same roomed same heated yoga routine...it's made a world of difference - i come in with a different energy and level of focus/drive/intention - mainly intention, which has become my theme and center of attention over the past few weeks...anyhow, i definitely think throwing your mat outside is a superb idea...sometimes it helps to allow the energy of your practice to expand out into the free flowing space of our universe rather than bouncing from radiator to radiator, wall to wall, asana to asana - i always forget this after a long winter based on my dire need to practice in a heated room