Sunday, July 19, 2009

From Melancholy to Movement


Not too long ago, I wrote about welcoming a morning malaise. Today I am doing that and I am welcoming it into the ring because I want to KICK ITS BUTT! And that might be my personalized form of abhyasa, or constant practice. Today it is my way to keep things moving. …because it is just this kind of morning and these kinds of thoughts that keep me from my yoga and keep me from my life. And I AM NOT rejecting this part of myself--please do not confuse this point--I merely intend to show this sulky, stubborn part of myself that it is time to move. And I will feel better because of this. I have heard it said before that people tend to be their own worst enemy. Well, I want to be my best friend. I want to be the friend that helps you out of bed when you are too melancholy to move. This can be a way of maintaining the constant practice that is mentioned in the following quote:

"The problem of controlling the mind is not capable of easy solution, as borne out by the following dialogue in the sixth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna asks Sri Krishna:
'Krishna, you have told me of Yoga as a communion with Brahman (the Universal Spirit), which is ever one. But, how can this be permanent, since the mind is restless and inconsistent? The mind is impetuous and stubborn, strong and willful, as difficult to harness as the wind.' Sri Krishna replies: 'Undoubtedly, the mind is restless and hard to control. But it can be trained by constant practice (abhyasa) and by freedom from desire (vairagya). A man who cannot control his mind will find it difficult to attain this divine communion; but the self-controlled man can attain it if he tries hard and directs his energy by the right means.'"
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, eleventh paragraph of the Introduction.

So we just have to keep at it. Yoga is an ongoing process. And it is never a static entity; energies and thoughts are always moving so constant practice is necessary to harmonize our yogic experience. Every day is unique... Even every moment is unique. The account from this morning (that I started the post with) is just one example of keeping things moving.

Never let the poses get stale or stagnant, either. Don't let the pictures in yoga books and magazines confuse you! Photographs make the poses look like they might be frozen, like a bronze sculpture. But yoga poses in practice are percolating with life, even when they are "held." Tune into your sensations to learn more.

A common notion that seeps into yoga, sometimes is: wanting to be "done." In this case we might get into a pose--thinking we are "done"--and just wait for a teacher or timer to let us know that it's time to move on. However, some yogis think that once we have gotten ourselves into a pose that it is only then beginning. 

There is always movement in life, and we can choose the direction. Choosing not to act leads to disorder, and doing something creates order. And in order to live a life I want I must act. There are things I have to do to contribute towards outcomes I'd like to see. The present moment is always making the next one, so my action now or my lack of action now strongly affects what comes next.

And I trust that the amount I can do is enough. Sometimes (many times?) it seems like there is so much to do that it is overwhelming. It is important to remember that when I am applying myself it is enough. If I am doing the best I can do it is enough. I do the right amount.

2 comments:

YogaforCynics said...

Your comment about not being "done" really strikes a chord with something I've been thinking lately. I used to look at yoga classes as "classes" in the sense of things I go to to learn stuff I can later use, eventually completing my education and not needing to go anymore. Now, I've come to realize that I enjoy the process so much that, though I still have goals, I don't particularly want to be "done" at all....

Anna Yaya said...

Thank you for your post. I wake up about half the time with a feeling of dread and I use my tools: yoga, prayer, and gratitude to pull myself out of it. I'm always grateful for my children, but sometimes it's as simple as: the blue sky out my window is so pretty. Yoga has taught me to observe my body, so I can feel dread slowly lighten as a physical sensation and turn into the freedom to get out of bed and start my day with pleasure.