Coming Out the Way You Went In
Practice, oh, practice.
And what happened after it this morning.
It had been a huge practice for me. Huge. Around alignment. Real alignment. True alignment. And what that looks like going in and coming out.
In asana practice we listen to the teacher give us instruction: step foot back, press back through heel, sink hips down, reach heart forward, point tailbone back, breathe in, ground down, breathe out, lengthen, inhale to rise, exhale to open, and so on. We do what we’re told, but what is actually happening? Are we really all in? All of us? Or, using my teacher’s words, are we just dragging our bodies around like dogs on a leash, looping that same sad story around in our heads? Said another way, is the action being directed by the FEELING experience or by the mind’s conceptualization? And to go deeper, WHAT is our feeling awareness even on, and why?
As I come more out of conceptual and more into perceptual, two things are simultaneously happening. On one end, new awareness that feels really good and on the other end, holy shit, this just got more intense. For it’s pushing me once again up against a new edge, and asking me to look at what I’m doing, and not doing. But as Bryce reminded me recently, we don’t go into practice for a hit of Bliss, we go in for the real, deep, truth bearing work.
So, what happened in practice for me was, yes, around alignment, and getting more truthful about where I was fooling myself, avoiding the real work, trying to get somewhere when all of me wasn’t on board, staying attached to some idea that ultimately kept me in fear, doubt, and mistrust. And ultimately doing the whole struggle thing, the gripping, contracting, tensing, lifting up and out of, criticizing. And then something pops, I notice what I didn’t before, and I surrender, and relax into this new noticing in my body, and by doing that, which at first feels out of alignment and awkward, I see that I am actually more in alignment. I can feel it, actually feel my whole body in participation. And I feel lighter, more spacious, more whole and connected.
For what I’m experiencing now in practice is that going deeper is going wider. It’s busting through the resistance by taking the breath there with a quality of play and lightness, surrendering into trust, not fear. And feeling outward. Busting through, busting out. And then I am, so much more, all at once.
Being with my outer hips and lower back going in and out of a seated forward fold and seated twist this morning. And with my elbows pressing down in dolphin. Trusting my elbows to guide me into opening my heart, and then feeling and trusting my spine behind my heart as I shifted to headstand, drew knees into chest, and floated feet off floor. And then coming out as I went in. All only truly possible with my FEELING-BREATH awareness in participation.
So, after class, Bryce and I walked out together to the parking lot to say goodbye. As we hugged, his arms around my waist and mine around his neck, he picked me up. And I noticed my body in that moment, the tensing, the need for some sort of control, the grip in my arms, face, jaw, my breath, my lack of trust. Is this how I wanted to go into this? Is this where I really was?
I had a choice. Stay as I was, or let go, and fall into my real alignment. That I have nothing to fear, nothing to mistrust, nothing to close to, in this moment. That what I’m doing, habitually doing without awareness, is not my truth. So, I allowed myself to be held by him as I let go and felt my arms soften, hips release, sides of torso lengthen by the pull of gravity. My legs dangled, taking me back to that feeling as a child. And just as Bryce lifted me up, he lowered me exactly the same way, my feet returning to the same place on the ground.