Sunday, May 3, 2009

Alive Inside


It’s not enough to automatically go through one’s life: signing up for the right programs and paying the bills. It’s also important to make your own way, even to cut your own path.

In the springtime, gardeners turn over the soil to get it ready for this year’s plants. Similarly, we need to till our own internal space so we can be alive to the changes life inevitably presents.

Just because we don’t see something, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. We might keep a clean, fresh environment inside our personal homes, but what are we doing to the larger shared world? We might see the closest thing to our eyes, and think that what we see there is everything. But when we think that way we are not thinking clearly. The world is bigger than any personal view.

If the world is restricted to what we already think we know then the internal landscape is stagnated. The earth inside is packed down from the heaviness of the winter snow and clogged by the leaves that fell last fall. It’s time to till the soil, and to allow the terrain to breathe freely with new life. There is an incredible richness in this old growth that gets turned under, in fact it nourishes the new life. So the past understandings are a good foundation for fresh insights. In fact we need those old leaves and decaying matter of past events to create the richness of our current being.

And just like we can pilot a remote controlled car from afar, we can also put the body through the paces of a yoga-style workout without much personal investment. But, when we work this way we are missing out on the deeply rejuvinative benefits of a mindful yoga practice. It is important to be open to a fresh perspective. This can come from trying out new instructions from a teacher in class, or from listening and responding to feedback from inside your own body. Keep it fresh!

4 comments:

YogaforCynics said...

There have been times when I've stopped going to yoga class and just practiced on my own, and I've been struck, on returning to class, to find that I've been going through the motions, not really being present in my practice at all, though I thought I was. I've also sometimes been amazed when, after working exclusively with one teacher for a while, I go and take a class with another--finding myself experiencing the same asanas in completely different ways....

By the way, I hope you weren't too offended by the language in my last post...it's meant as a parody of various aspects of blogging and the web in general, if a crude one....

svasti said...

Hey Brooks, lovely post. This thought process is exactly why we can never assume we know everything that composes this world, or the universe.

Most of the yoga teachers I've ever had have encouraged their students to go to many yoga classes and learn from different teachers. There's much to be gained from that perspective, too. As in, what you like/dislike about how a teacher instructs a class, as much as the asana.

Also, there's nothing like having a whole new light shone on a pose you think you know inside and out.

I tend to find any pose I'm coasting in because I find it to be 'easy' is one I'm not actually doing well at all.

So I always look for that lazy approach to any part of my practice as a way to understand where I need to wake up. :)

RB said...

This reminds of something my teacher said on Saturday: The Yoga is not the easy stuff. I'd gone through so many classes trying to excel at the poses I could do and make it look like a cinch.

Now, I'm injured and run-down and can barely do anything. It's a whole different experience, but still yogic one.

Flo said...

Just because we don’t see something, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. --
This is key to me and where I am currently in my practice.