I was chatting a friend over coffee today and conversation turned as often to yoga. We’re both busy with relationships, work, family, keeping well/feeling ill… the usual flow of life stuff. And for myself I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by work right now (I’m covering the essentials of my boss’s workload while he’s on extended leave).
But we agreed that whatever life is throwing our way, we don’t let it get in the way of yoga practice.
Is it that we’re both Type A personalities who have something to prove? Perhaps. But I think we’re both learning too that time on the mat isn’t time off or time wasted. It’s time invested in ourselves that makes the rest of life smoother, easier, more joyful. Just better. And we both agreed that all this good stuff applied to those around us, as we become more at ease in life.
Class last night had something of a similar theme. My teacher started with an observation of how beautiful the moon was that night. Truly — it looked incredible, just a sliver of light, little more than a curved silvery line, but very atmospheric. And slightly mysterious. The kind of night sky that makes you really wonder what it’s all about and what’s out there in space….
But back to class: the point of this was encouraging us to remain mindful of the beauties and the joys in everyday existence.
And in asana practice we were encouraged to bring to mind the joyful things in our lives, the things we feel grateful for, to cultivate a sense of wellbeing and inner warmth. Funny that I don’t ever remember this kind of invitation before. I had always thought yoga was about neutrally experiencing what is, rather than deliberately inviting more positive feelings in during practice.
As I chewed this over back at home, Hubby told me I’m a ‘yoga snob’! Maybe. A little harsh perhaps, but that’s his spousal prerogative.
But I find I’m left wondering if this is what Patañjali intended. And whether that matters. An interesting intellectual thought for me to chew on as I read more and develop my understanding. Maybe it’s a form of pratipaksha-bhavana, the cultivation of opposite thoughts?
And although I don’t like to acknowledge it I’m also left with a nagging sense that I don’t feel myself worthy of such good feelings. Which is partly the message my teacher was giving us I think, that this act of compassion to oneself is also an ongoing practice.
So so much going on in class. It completely distracted me from fretting about my diminishing budget at work. Or about my Sanskrit vocab which is echoing in my ears as exotic sounds, though the English meanings remain fugitive. Something else that’s an ongoing practice.