In my yoga classes, I've been talking a lot lately about being present, living in the moment, and how difficult that is to really do in our modern, western, scheduled, distracted, busy lives. The yoga mat - our Asana Playground - is one place where we can teach ourselves to be present.
When we are truly present, we allow thoughts of the future and past slip away, and we are only in the NOW.
On a physical level, on our Asana Playground, we get to experience the NOW as we move through each posture. More specifically, as we move BETWEEN each posture. The posture itself, the Asana, is only a moment - "...a momentary gathering of alignment, breath and attention into one physical shape. And then it [is] gone." (Lee, Cindy. "Art of Asana." Yoga International, Spring 2013 #121.)
Isn't it true? Before that moment, we are deepening, opening, engaging, and breathing. Then, the moment happens, and voila! ASANA! What happens next is a TRANSITION - a transition OUT OF the Asana.
Now I realize that I teach a VINYASA yoga class - one that flows breath and movement, one that, at least I hope, feels fluid to my students. In the Vinyasa style, it is true, that alignment, breath and attention gather for a moment to create the Asana. But in a Bikram class, or a Hatha class, where each posture is taught individually without the focus on a fluid transition in between, the actual Asana, when you reach it (if you are supposed to reach it at all is another discussion in itself!) is still that momentary gathering.
I love that thought. Can I say it once more?
The Asana... is... a MOMENTARY gathering of ALIGNMENT, BREATH and ATTENTION...
Hallelujah! Yoga is DANCE! Yoga is LIFE! No wonder Yoga is so great!
So, let's come off our Asana Playground and back into the World.
When we have practiced graceful transitions through challenging, awkward, frustrating, glorious, fun postures in yoga, we allow ourselves to move gracefully from one moment into the next, whatever arises in that moment. When we have truly embodied that concept, isn't it grand how that transfers into the World, where we also allow ourselves to move gracefully through those transitions? Not postures, but situations - point A to point B, conversations, frustrations, elations, whatever arises in the NOW. We are much better equipped to accept it and transition - move - gracefully through it.
Now there is more... and this idea I credit to Ram Dass, whose writing I was reading this morning...
When we get caught up thinking about the future, our minds see in advance where we are going, and make us imitate where we think we are going. This doesn't give us a chance for our intuition to show us the way. And our intuition is highly intelligent.
Saul David Raye speaks a lot about the Mayan concept of the "heart-mind". We have the mind, the intellect, but then the heart also, the feeling, has wisdom. Somewhere between the two, lies our intuition, and it is with the heart-mind that the best decisions are made.
There is another blog entry in and of itself! I will have to save that for the next time!
Until then, inspiration abounds!
Kristen is the creator of Indieflow Yoga and Yoga For A Cause. She lives and teaches in Denver, Colorado