Monday, October 31, 2011

Attached to Asana

Nature is always telling us something, but rarely are we listening.  I think I'm in tune with what my body is telling me, but I'm also aware of my Western upbringing when it comes to "pushing yourself."  Last week, I was moving right along through all the asana classes and felt great.  By Saturday evening, the ease in my body was slowly being replaced by a sore butt.  Sunday morning I was still feeling up to my normal personal practice routine, but in retrospect I took it a little too far and it only takes one or two centimeters of "pushing" before nature really kicks it up a notch to make sure you get the message.  I got the message loud and clear after a few too many, too intense forward bends.

This of course started a cascade of thoughts in my mind from anger (directed at myself) to a sense of loss, to almost panic.  Thanks to being exposed over and over again to the notion of awareness and how thoughts influence emotions, I was able to just sit with the thoughts and wait for them to pass.  Don't get me wrong, I'm no yogi yet, this still took me more time then I would like to reflect on at this point.  It's said that a yogi only needs one breath to calm the mind.  After the initial thought/emotion circle passed, then I was able to see the situation for what it really was.

Obviously, it was there to teach me something, at least one thing if not more.  Clearly, my body told me something at some point, but I turned my awareness away from that, even if it was only for a few moments.  More importantly it left me wondering: am I that attached to asana and the external benefits it has on my body that I panic at the thought of not being able to touch my head to my knees for a few days??  That is when I realized how ridiculously un-yogi I was being.

After all, the aim of yoga is not to touch your head to knees or hold a headstand for 20 minutes, but rather to work with your body as a tool to work deeper with your mind and even beyond that.  I won't get too philosophical on you today, no worries.  I'm just trying to convey the sense of attachment that we all struggle with in some way, whether it's material things, people, or even our own body.  All of these things are merely existing for some time.  Sorry, that is getting even deeper in the philosophical black hole.

Now that my body made sure that I'm aware of the changes going on, I am more aware of it during asana practice.  Nature always knows how to get your attention and change your intention.  Today I found myself enjoying my practice even more because I had to really give my body some more good intentions as I entered different poses.  It's like I had to gain my body's trust again, so you can imagine how funny my internal dialogue was as I attempted a forward bend. 

If we can't yet manage to be aware of nature as a whole, maybe we should all just start with our own body.  It's always telling you something.  Learn to listen.         

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