“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”–Walt Disney
In yoga, and in Buddhism for that matter, we tend to spend a great deal of time focusing on staying put and learning to be still. This is a valuable tool, especially in our frenetic world. Even our yoga has gained in speed!
For me yoga is an opportunity to slow down and honor my own, individual, internal pace. What do I mean by this? I'm the girl next to you in Vinyasa class who is 1 pace behind everyone else.
It's not that I'm in my own world. I'm not feeling rebellious against the instructor. I enjoy being able to complete each of my inhales and exhales - completely. If we're honest, we spend much of our daily lives "keeping up." In yoga, this is unnecessary. The practice is for the individual and non-competitive. So I take my time...
Some would say that if I come to an organized group class, that it is respectful to stay with the pace and cueing of the instructor and the group. Otherwise, what's the point? It's a distraction to others that I'm not "keeping up." I would agree if we were describing a choreographed line dance. But we're not. This is yoga. It might look lovely to have everyone completely synchronized together. That's not the objective here.
How does it feel?
Personally, I ENJOY my yoga. I savour each pose. I taste each long, juicy breath. I truly feel the deep connection between body and breath in motion. The synchronization comes with the unification of my breath to my movement. Each movement begins with a breath and ends with the last of the breath. This creates a symbiotic, moving meditation, as individual and unique as each person in the room.
As an instructor it brings me great joy to watch someone flow on their own through class. Mind you, it's respectful to remain within the same series of poses and not off doing inversions while the rest of the class is in a standing balance series. I agree that can be disruptive and at times even unsafe.
We come together to practice to unite our energies and to honor our diversity and our uniqueness. Just as we know that each pose is uniquely our own. My warrior II (virabhadrasana II) is not a mirror image of anyone else's. So why would I expect my breath and timing to be? The opportunity is for each of us to find our own pace and our own pose.
Seasoned instructors act as guides, offering a thoughtful class sequence, a consistent cueing pace, a thoughtfully arranged play list and perhaps a few calculated, authentic assists that will all combine to immerse a yogi deep into their own practice. Only the yogi will be able to truly feel, listen to and guide their own body, breath and spirit where they need to go.
Are we getting to where we need to go?
I started this post with a quote that says, to summarize Walt Disney's words, "keep moving."
Our stillness, our personal pace, our preferences and our routine, can create a cocoon of comfort protecting us from the opportunity to evolve. The chance to experience delicious discomfort.
Fear is in the driver's seat.
For me this arrives in the form of inversions. I have my practiced few inverted poses that I feel I have mastered. I am confident in them. Comfortable. It's good to know what we're good at...but when I am faced with practicing the others I might choose to be the independent individual. Rather than experiment, maybe even fall, I will just do the poses I know. This is all about me for a change so that's my prerogative, right? Exactly. Tell myself a story so that it feels acceptable to stay put...but in this case, I need to keep moving.
I am encouraging myself to practice what feels uncomfortable. To perceive my world through a lens of non-attachment. I am becoming liberated from my habits and routines, explore the poses and paces and even instructors who are outside of my comfort zone. I am letting go of both my successes and my failures. I stay put and present long enough to know that I am capable. And then I will simply keep moving and keep growing. And, yes, I am enjoying myself along the way.
When in your life have you stay put when you could have kept moving? How do you know when it's time to get moving again?