Plaiting the strands.

I’ve been struggling with direction lately, and last week a few things came together to make this whole life thing seem more coherent.
Firstly, after a bumpy return to Bikram yoga following a 6ish month break, my practice got back into some sort of a groove. It’s a physically demanding sequence, and in my typical impatience I’d expected to go back to where I’d left off all that time ago when I’d done a year of consistent practice three times a week. My frustration is evaporating now as my fitness is improving, and old levels of flexibility are returning despite a few niggles (backbends are harder, my right hip is grumbling). The bulk of my angst with the Bikram practice was, as ever, mental, and to do with focus. Last week, I took 3 classes, the same 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, on 3 different days with 3 different teachers. It’s funny how just a change in tone of voice, emphasis or humour can make a small detail stand out from something you’ve heard a hundred times or more before, and consequently a small adjustment to a familiar pose makes a huge difference for the better. Example: in triangle, let the weight drop into the heel of the turned out foot, giving more balance, less strain but more flex in the hips and more stretch in the arms. So, lately in class, I’ve been REALLY LISTENING to the dialogue, avoiding complacency and practising with an open mind.

The second strand came along via this freshly pressed WordPress blog, thank you very much: http://aviatrixkim.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/on-working/
This reminds me that the very work I’ve put into particular things makes them inherently valuable, and therefore worth continuing with in good heart for now. Even if I don’t understand the satisfaction or return from those things right now, suddenly changing or direction right now may be destabilizing.

The third strand is contentedness.  I find contentedness has to be practised, much like yoga, or speaking a language, or else I lose it!  Contentedness is not as exciting as it’s upbeat sibling, joy, but is an excellent family connection nonetheless.  Fostering a contented state of mind is the antidote to angst and dissatisfaction; it helps me to experience the everyday as the temporary manifestation of a longer scheme, to focus on the quality of the moment with gratitude. Contentedness helps me see what novelty there is in the same walk everyday, just like our dog who, after years of only paddling in water, has just discovered the joys of swimming.

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4 responses to “Plaiting the strands.

  1. “It’s funny how just a change in tone of voice, emphasis or humour can make a small detail stand out from something you’ve heard a hundred times or more before, and consequently a small adjustment to a familiar pose makes a huge difference for the better. ”

    YES! Isn’t it crazy? I have had some recent, very random breakthroughs in Half Moon and in Cobra that have been GAME CHANGERS. I think I just forget to listen sometimes.

    Great post!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I’d been getting very complacent that I was an old hand, then remembered that this is a beginners’ sequence so should keep my ears open!

      • I do this too! I love it when a specific instruction suddenly changes from being background noise to an actual sentence and you’re all like… huh. I hear this instruction every day. Why have I never DONE it?

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kerryalina! Today I had a great class just by listening to the dialogue really carefully and breathing. I know they remind us every class but sometimes I get so caught up in my own dialogue I don’t hear the teacher!

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