Sunday, December 1, 2013

YOGA: Centering, Sobbing and Balancing on Your Eyelashes. Or something like it.

Photo: Noelle Beaugureau 

“There’s no value in digging shallow wells in a hundred places. Decide on one place and dig deep. Even if you encounter a rock, use dynamite and keep going down. If you leave that to dig another well, all the first effort is wasted and there is no proof you won’t hit rock again. ” 

As a sort of unconscious rule to myself, I've refrained from professing my absolute enchantment and love affair with yoga on this blog. Bear with me. I've sprinkled it in here and there, then I consider readers and think, "if I didn't practice yoga, why would I give a fuck?" I mean, right? I don't read running blogs, because I don't run. I don't read food blogs, because I don't cook. You get what I'm saying. The reason that I decided to share what I would generally save as a draft, a morning page, or personal declaration is because, after actually READING a bevy of running blogs and perusing a handful of food blogs, I realize that it isn't about the actual act of running or cooking. It isn't about the ACT of the physical postures or activity, it's about the transformations that occur to the individual experiencing them. It isn't the stride, it's the determination, it isn't the ingredient, it's the creation, the patience.... the growth and nourishment of a thing. As the Sutra above says, it's in the digging, the staying in once place and going deeper, and deeper and deeper, the acceptance of endless growth. Whichever way you may come to it. 

For me, yoga is the soil, from which all creative and emotional vegetation can flourish in abundance. Without the soil the representation of who I am as an individual would be stunted. The branches of my life; my music, writing, acting, adventures...wouldn't grow out as fully with buds to abundant and flowering so vibrant. There's no separation between my practice and the contents of my life, the two are wildly synchronized.

I say wild because, reason number two I've kept my cosmic little love affair hushed is there's a sort of stigma, if you will, attached to one claiming to be a yogi; Do yogis get angry? Do they think they're 'better than'? Do yogis ever get DOWN? Do yogis have a true grasp on reality or are they just climbing a tree somewhere talking to butterflies and bathing their crystals in sunlight? Well. Yes. I do talk to butterflies. And crystals are fucking awesome....however, I recognize that yoga is very much a balancing act, a reminder of the interconnectedness of all emotional shades.

I comfortably embrace the human experience and emotions of anger or ego, confusion and missteps. It's just that with yoga I can come back to something that reminds me of the truth when I've temporarily forgotten. Or rage out.

Ephemeral and everlasting. Totally messy, sobbing in Pigeon or fiercely dancing in Natarajasana atop a Demon, (demon: illusion, ignorance, ego) conquering it with an open heart and balance. The entirety of yoga embraces the paradoxes of life and as yogis, I can accept that we are all parts dark and light.

When I practice I remember, the way we store stories in our hips, is the way we store history in our hips. Our love song to our matriarchs. The same curves the women who birthed us did....Our hips are a tribute to our tribe, to our lineage and the place where we came from, a year ago and a century ago. Whether narrow, or wide, open or closed, they store our present emotional landscape and our ancestral chronicles. Hips are made for dancing, swinging, resting, beguiling...they're the most neglected and the most primary aspect of our practice and our hearts.

When I practice I remember, that there are centers in our bodies with all the answers. The gut. The heart. The third eye. That anything we've needed to know, or are calling upon for guidance is never external....the answers are in our very tissue, bones, blood. The fibers and layers that move us through this experience, beyond the physical. With practice I find that the answer is just below the surface of this shell.

When I practice I remember, there is no better indicator to the strength of your mind than to ask it to do something physically challenging. The stronger your practice becomes, the stronger your mind. The more I doubt my ability to do something, the more necessary I know it is to overcome that doubt.... the physical practice is a microcosm of what is possible in the other areas of my life. Manifesting my fortitude through discomfort physically, allows me to endure with grace whatever happens beyond my control outside of the studio.

When I practice I remember, that everything can be basic, or we can make it complex. That one posture has a million layers. And sometimes, the fundamentals of a posture are enough for the day. The vanilla is good. The raw form, superb. The simplicity, ideal. Not every day calls for the extra push, the inversion or twist....some days need to be simplified. Some "life moments" need only to be organic and pure. The layers never go away.... MORE is always an option, however, it's a better option if you already have a healthy relationship with "simple."

When I practice I remember, that to be in Tree Pose, we all root down the same way, with the same four corners; the expression in which our branches take is individual to us.

When I practice I remember that breath is the antidote to resistance.

You are the Goddess of your flow, the High Priestess of your intention, the Warrior in your story, the only. single. thing there is. Your gaze, or "Drishti," keeps your eyes on your own mat, no different than in life. The instant you're concerned with someone else's "dancer" is the instant you sabotage your own. You only falter, only waiver, only lose your center when you go outside of yourself to find it. 

When I practice I remember that we churn, twist and bend. That there is an innate animalistic sensuality and fierceness in all of us that sometimes just needs a little opening. That BREATHING feels good, that staying when you want to flee is gratifying after the fact, and that our body is built to experience pleasure. 

To every action there is a reaction, to every open there is a close. To every inward turn there is an outward motion. That everything we do is circular, entirely interconnected and ONE.

When I'm uncomfortable I remember, that certain struggles exist for a's not the struggle itself, or the resistance, because the physicality of discomfort dissipates and changes. It's in our perception of the discomfort that we're able to find the growth and ease. By looking at the struggle that is innate when putting your body, or our spirit, through a series of foreign movements through the lens of acceptance, resolve and courage we're able to see the tension as a powerful gift and transcend it.

Most importantly, I remember that everything should begin and end with a prayer and that that prayer is right in the very center of your being. Your heart. Nowhere else. Wherever you go it's right there with you.

Whether it's yoga, running....painting, dancing.... however you find your CENTER is perfect, as long as you're intent on finding and nurturing it. Centered and spicy as always, nama-fucking-ste.



Sid said...

I am headed to India in December. Your post has inspired me to find a class in India and attempt a couple of yoga poses. I'll email you a few pics of my attempts.

Niki said...

I admire you.
I find my center with horseback riding.The saddle truly is my home.xx

dreaming is believing

Chelsea Talks Smack said...

I LOVE THIS!! @Sid, please let me know how your class goes :)

@niki, thank youuuu. I love horseback riding as well <3 Thank you for sharing!

Kim said...

I haven't taken yoga in a very long time, and now I want to go! Thanks. I always loved that balance between engaging your muscles (and mind) while still trying to stay relaxed and breathe. Time to get back at it.