I have an interesting view on honesty. I know many philosophy schools and religions extoll the virtue of being honest; however, as someone who was trained as a social scientist, I hold the contradiction that dishonesty is one of the skills that holds the social fabric of society together. Because of that knowledge, it becomes dishonest for me to claim that honesty is always the best way to express ourselves in the world. Even to ourselves, there are times that too much honesty, to much clarity, can cause serious mental distress. Times that honesty may not be the best policy. Despite this, there are moments when we touch something that feels primal and pure. One is the deep connection with the breath in yoga. Closing the eyes and softening the body until you feel the skin dancing to the the rhythm of the breath.
This is the place from which the movements unfold, from which the postures unfurl. Yes, the muscles support the bones, but there must be enough sensitivity from inside to let the body float on the wave of the breath. Sometimes, you can find this by integrating one motion with the breath – rounding and arching the back, bending and straightening the knee, or raising and lowering the arms. The beat of the breath charting the length in time that these actions occur. Other times, the bones settle and still, but the internal space out to the skin still finds the tempo instigated by the lungs. There are moments with abandon although perhaps not reckless, that the whole body flows in at out of postures or grand motions, riding on the wave of your breath. The breath creates the forms that encompass the entire reachable world for one.
This feels like a truth, a moment of purity. So what of lies then? Perhaps the falling out of rhythm of the breath as much as falling into it. We will notice disconnect – but instead of admonishment, truth beyond truth is that these moments of disconnect are part of the larger dance. And so we move to the rhythm of the breath, and so we dance.
We often see yoga pictures of lithe bodies moving through what appears to be impossible in serene ways. I was this, I did this – not with the skill of a dancer or a acrobat – but still in the full knowledge and pride that I could do what a lot of adults in the west could not. And I won’t lie to you, I still have moments of grace. But injury has made me explore more deeply what movement works for me. This creates forms that may not always look like the poses in pictures.
I know what I am doing in this picture is still not accessible to a lot if people, but part of me looks at it and thinks my feet should be all the way down. Even though only having the heels down feels better for me at this time. It allows me to move in a way that works for me. Isn’t this what so many of us are working on? Finding our way to move in this world that works for us? That doesn’t harm others? And then inhabiting it without shame?
I have decided to practice outside as much as possible as walking is still difficult for me. There was an older woman on Humans of New York who once side wonderful things happen when you go outside, so now that I am starting to feel better I am making an effort to get outside and do small explorations. That being said, into every life a little rain must fall. It is needed for growth.
I am not a traditionalist. I question sometimes whether I want to call what I do and teach yoga, rather than deeply influenced by yoga. However, my linguistics teacher taught me long ago that definitions are decided by groups and the meanings of words change, and I believe, most Americans would call what I do yoga. It is interesting, in my past regarding certain areas I have been a traditionalist. Now I feel that one must always take one’s environment into account. Environment drives evolution; biological and otherwise. There are schools of yoga that talks about where the gaze should rest. This is where my gaze should rest. In connection with my planet.
Feeling a little blue today, my body is hurting. So I needed some inspiration:
Sometimes or some people practice yoga trying to achieve acrobatic shapes. Some days or some one is practicing yoga to reach enlightenment. Today I managed to cross my left leg behind my right at the end of practice, a major achievement for my left knee at this time.
Where I continue to post pictures of what I place around me when I practice yoga. Small things that have developed meaning.
I have been working on finding focus, a sense of direction, recently. This space speaks to that. The pendulum taps into the subconscious, the black feather ink pen gives voice, the peacock feathers are the integration of creativity – from an adult student dance performance, and you have to go where your feet point.
Today I invited a dying lily into my practice space. The perfume was glorious. Sometimes endings are beautiful.