working through gross, unpleasant and awkward
“Stand halfway between hope and hopelessness…the ecstasy of total horror and total beauty at the same moment.” – Ram Dass
I don’t do yoga, I cultivate yoga practice, I can even say that I “yoga” my life. And everyone who reads will have a different mental image, that may include sitting in a lotus position, doing asanas that resemble circus tricks, or chanting mantras dressed in funny robes. And for many people, yoga is all those regardless if they want it or not. I adopted postural yoga while expanding my movement and meditation practices.
When I can say that I have always been relatively strong, it took me a while, and not without the help from many amazing instructors, to realize how to cultivate my practice and navigate myself. To realize that yoga is not about doing something hard, fast, and beautiful, it’s about jumping into the hard work, exploring and expanding there. The work that never stops with a “Shavasana” in a one hour class but zooms out into a broader scale of sensations, notions, knowledge again and again.
Working hard doesn’t just mean pushing stronger, staying longer or squeezing better. It means going more in-depth with my attention, with my intentions. Working through gross, unpleasant, awkward, fearful, through things outside of my comfort zone to the “other side.” And bringing all I learn, everything I can to this side, applying to the rest of the things I do in life. Advanced practice, really, is what makes people engage more neurology, change their psychology, to irradiate others around, to carry bliss from the mat to the classroom, to the boardroom, to the bedroom.
Fear manifests itself in different ways. In our world more often as laziness, gluttony, procrastination. But also as ignorance, arrogance, entitlement, excuses. Courage, on the other hand, is more straightforward. It is not about jumping in a battle to die in somebody else’s war, it is self-trust and self-love, that allows for a capacity to think and act in everyone else’s interest. It is will for remembering what I want and not lying to myself, not cheating, not looking for shortcuts, excuses, distractions. Not deepening in my addictions and self-indulgements. The toughest management task in life is to control myself, the most significant accomplishment - to respect my intentions, to be loyal, never betray, get out of my own way.
Probably I can say that I see my movement practice as a portal. I choose my place, I make a plan, I commit, I show up, I do the work. I sign up for a process to see where it takes me. Every time as the first time, beginners mind. I learn new things, I re-learn old things, I expand. I find structure, I build the frame, and it allows me to pull up into the next level. It is very different from “another step” of a ladder because my projection here is not two-dimensional. To make it one, I would need to follow somebody else’s plan, to be motivated, instead of trusting myself and being inspired. It is so hard to learn that I need a will for joy, and I mean every time because I keep forgetting it.
linked mentions for "working through gross, unpleasant and awkward":
sgv wisdom of no escape
What is something physical that you are working on in your practice (skill, awareness to generate, a thing to heal). What are the limiting factors in the present moment (specific, anatomical, connected). What are the tools that can help with these factors. Inner goal. What is the energy you are trying to create or a negative pattern you are working on to transcend. Alchemy. What is the good quality you already have that will help you with that other thing and the tool you learned (during the training) that will help you. Three most important things to grow as a teacher.