“Do you think I’m really dim?” I asked Hubby.
“Uh… yeah!” he told me. Mock incredulity. Did I really need to ask!!
We were talking about yoga. Of course. Specifically we were talking about breath leading the movement. Clearly pretty important in yoga. Clearly very important in vinyasa style.
But hard, right? Or is it? Am I making it hard? Gosh, I’ve never been know to make things harder for myself than they need to be [heavy British irony here, folks!].
In the past I’d experienced the breath leading my body through vinyasas very passively. I’ve received it as a gift almost. Sometimes it just happens. It’s subtle but powerful. The breath comes to the fore and I am just led on by it, surrendering, no longer controlling. Not thinking and anticipating, just feeling. It’s rare, but it’s the most beautiful thing when it happens. I feel like I’m doing ‘real yoga’ when it’s like this. Most days (if I’m lucky) I just look as though I’m doing yoga. But the feeling is different. So different.
So here’s my recent revelation, sparked by my teacher focusing on breath-led movement in class recently: I could deliberately move my body fractionally after my breath. I needn’t wait for the magic moment when the breath really moves me, I could ‘fix’ the timing myself. And Hubby tells me this is how his practice always is. He begins his inhale and then, fractionally later, he moves his body. That’s why I’m being dim, because I hadn’t realised this was part of the technique. I go for simultaneous movement — as I inhale I draw forward from down dog to plank, as I exhale I start to lower down into chaturanga and so on. And that simultaneous movement of breathe and body sometimes transforms itself into the breath magically leading me — or it doesn’t.
So I tried Hubby’s way in class recently since the teacher was instructing the breath more insistently than usual, and my conscious focus was repeatedly drawn here by his reminders.
And yet this isn’t it. This doesn’t feel the same to me. This is a conscious act of will and of cognitive intention. It might be a good practice, but it’s not the beautiful gift that it is when it just happens spontaneously.
Sure, I could experiment more with conscious manipulation of my breath/movement, play with the synchronisation, and try being a tad behind the breath. But that’s not the Rolls Royce practice, it’s just an every day make-do. I just don’t think I’m going be my vehicle to enlightenment!
Or am I really being dim?
image source: Rolls Royce from Wikipedia