Wednesday, May 23, 2012

just breathe

Last week a student told me after class that one of the biggest benefits she has received from coming to class has been the developing the skill of developing nonjudgmental awareness.

It was my second week of steady and intentional teaching on the body.

The first week was really plain and simple.

Stay in the body.
Your body.
These feet, legs, hips, belly, back, chest, shoulders, arms, neck, head, face.
Stay in your body.

Thoughts wandered to the past, to the future, to dinner, to the drive home, to work.
Ground yourself in your body.
Sounds easy, right?
Not so much.

The very first word in the yoga sutras says so much to the yoga practice.  It's simple and profound.  It's easy to grasp.  It's hard to practice.

That one word is "atha".
It translates to "now".


Yoga happens in this moment. It's happening right now. 

Asana, the yoga poses we love to bend, twist, and shape ourselves in to are fabulous to help us be in the now.

Last week we layered this practice with feeling the body and it's yes's and no's.  For example, coming into a standing forward bend.  We're folding, we're breathing, the back of the body is stretching, the hamstrings are lengthening.....

Yes!, says the body.  This is good.  I needed this.  Yes! I can go a little deeper.  It's good.  I've got a calm breath, steady mind.  No problem.  I look over to the person next to me....ooohhh they are folding deeper.  That looks impressive.  I bet I can do that.  I start to push.

My body starts to contract.  My breath becomes restricted.  My mind is pulsing with the thought of just a lil more, just a lil more.  My (small) mind is signaling "yes".  My body is signaling "no".

I pause mid-pose.
Take a conscious breath.
I hear the "no" coming from my body.
It is quieter than the "yes" coming from my (small) mind.

I back off. I breathe.
I'm present. 
Nonjudgmental awareness. 
I begin again.

No comments: