Monday, November 5, 2007

Mantra Monday: I will play on both sides of my edge.

Wake up. Stumble to kitchen. Fill kettle with water. Turn stove on. Pull out clothes for day. Choose shoes. Get ready for work. Pour tea. Pack bag for day. Walk to metro. Commute. Arrive work. Work. Commute home.

Generally, we're faced with the same routine every single solitary day - at some level we find comfort in these patterns that establish themselves. To make it sound more palpable, we call it a "routine." Things become predictable - in a world of quickly spinning chaos of the rest of the world it starts to feel almost "zen-like." Is that really what zen is supposed to be? Where is the exhilaration and wakefulness of life and the potential it holds?

If you're routine is numbing, it is anything but "zen-like." Then how can we actively wake up from these patterns? The easiest solution, as I started to explore in a recent post, mix it up a little. Wear flats to work one day. Try wearing a color you necessarily wouldn't try.
Let go. But it's truly something more than that. Hold back. Recognize something in your life and actively seek out change. See where that change takes you.

When we hear, "play on your edge," we immediately assume that we have to do something wildly different or something that pushes closer to being superhuman or doing some fantastic feat of cortortion. That's not true at all. Sometimes it's asking for assistance or knowing to hold back.

In practice Sunday night, the visiting instructor recommended trying various modifications - to find something new. Put another way, to not automatically go to where you "always" find yourself in your pose. Instead of entering into full expression of side plank pose (vasisthasana) with your leg fully extended, try a modification, try placing your knee on the ground. A whole different series of sensations might present themselves. In the case of vasisthasana, maybe you're able to pull your hips higher and roll your shoulders open even more.

Playing on both sides of the edge gives you a gauge of where you are. The edge is not the precipice of a cliff. Think of it as the apex of a pyramid, a point to balance on, allowing self-discovery of something new about yourself by looking at yourself a little differently.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you that I'm extremely impressed with how deep your understanding of Yoga seems to be. I'm just starting (I've been going to Mysore for 2 months, and never did Yoga before in my life), and I still feel quite lost about a lot of things, even if I strive to read and learn about what Yoga is, and about other people's experiences with the process. But going back on your posts, you seem to have just known so much from very early on. You also seem to have been able to pick up a lot of the asanas really quickly. I wish I were that lucky, some times I fear my own Yoga road is going to take forever (sigh). ;)