I have been experiencing that one of the functions of postural practice in the system of yoga is as counterbalance, anchoring into an embodied awareness of a relative sense of space and time to help orient and function in those realms while simultaneously opening into a connection with the formless infinite beyond these finite boundaries of form.
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I have been sleeping with my head in the same direction on my bed for many years now. Last night I was sitting on my bed in the evening and felt compelled to put my head down in a totally different position, so I did. I slept like I was in another world.
I had many dreams about doing things differently than I have done before and spending time with new people I hadn’t met yet or didn’t know all that well. I was really enjoying it and learning a lot, but I was also very concerned that the new ways were going to disrupt the old ways, familiar consistent habitual ways that I thought I needed to maintain in order to be okay.
And disrupt they did. In a way that showed me the old patterns were not as stable or supportive of me as I had imagined. I was angry and hurt at first. Then I began to recognize. I was also freed.
Even my breathing pattern changed as I made this shift. I started to notice that although there were things that were passing there were also aspects that seemed to thrive in the space that was freed by putting myself in new positions, by moving in new directions. There had been no time or room to grow being stuck repeating the same old things, even if before it had felt familiar and therefore safe.
As I woke my perspective was quite different, literally and figuratively. My cat was really happy to get to lie in the spot I usually lie in that at times we fight over. As my granny used to say, “It’s a new day Neissy.”
Can’t hold on to the old day.
May as well face the dawn.
I mentioned to my son last night I was going to sleep in a new direction and he said he changes the direction he puts his head all the time and encouraged it.
I awaken with the resolve to keep stepping forward into the reorganization with less fear of the accompanying dissolution. To just keep going, see how it grows.
For many years I taught yoga somewhere that was a 45 minute drive from my house and at certain times of the year I would leave in the dark and witness the sunrise. Often during class I would say, because for me it was true and because I had seen it happen so many times, that the awakenings come slow and steady like the sunrise, and then there are those moments like flashes of light when everything suddenly becomes brighter. When those shifts come, let it happen. Let yourself be transformed.
At some point I noticed that these sudden flashes happened especially at certain places along my drive, like when I drove north past exit 20 on I-93 in New Hampshire. Some of it was that the sun had risen higher and some of it was just that I had moved myself into a position where I could more clearly see the light.
Which really, is all the sunrise is, and the equinox, and the passing out of an eclipse. The sun is always shining. We just move into a position where we are in more in the light than in our own or something else’s shadow.
When you desire something and become attached to the attainment of what you think you want it can be depleting. And torturous. Yet when you desire and don’t need to attain it can be rejuvenating. And inspiring. Which doesn’t mean you won’t receive what you desire or put any effort towards it, it just means you don’t believe you have to attain or strive in order to be okay.
Do you feel the difference?
I am starting to more and more of the time.
When I become aware that I am chasing something, often because either I’m not getting what I think I want and/or I am exhausting myself by trying so hard, if I am able to let go and soften back into myself, making space for what I was chasing to come to me or not, I feel a sense of peace and release that can be more sustaining than when I get what I think I want by grasping for it.
Sometimes in this place of calm and openness I get what I thought I wanted anyway. And even if I don’t, I’m okay. Because I became willing to let it go.
One of my favorite physical aspects of practicing yoga is that there is nowhere on my back I cannot scratch (I am not suggesting this is true for everyone who practices yoga :-) ). One of my favorite mental aspects is the possibility that even when I feel an itch, I can feel it and not have to scratch.
I can, but I don’t have to.
This becomes more true all the time.