Trust your devotion... and the importance of a teacher
Practice was challenging this morning. There are some poses that, through the intensity, total enjoyment-will-devotion is experienced. I am such a yes to the fire. The fire feels good! I laugh and smile and my body-breath is one big balloon of dissolving boundary. The feeling is delicious. And then there are poses that go right to a part of my body where the intensity is of a different texture. The fire does not feel good. I can’t locate anything good about it and I have such a hard time hanging out, keeping my meditative awareness, breathing into the extreme, feeling out beyond myself, loving the experience. This morning I got plucked.
I’ve heard students say plenty of times that they aren’t strong enough and that’s why they come out of a pose. As a student myself, I know this is is erroneous. It has nothing to do with physical strength. Our bodies are designed to radiate in every pose. It has all to do with how we relate to Light. It has all to do with our persistent indulgence in our frontal personality and where we self-contract. It’s a choice we make. How do you relate to Light in that pose that utterly plucks at your “bliss”? What surfaces? Where do you go? What do you do? This is really good Yoga to know.
If all you want to do in Yoga practice is feel bliss, then as my teacher says, “it’s time for you to roll up your mat and go have a cup of coffee at a cafe somewhere.” For Real Yoga begins at the point of failure, sprinkled graciously with humor.
Hatha Yoga (from which all current yoga schools have arisen) is a practice of mind-body purification. To experience freedom and true CommUnion with What Is, we have to know what we’re up to, what is in the way, and what we do 24/7 to perpetuate the block. Then, with the help of capable, experienced, and embodied teachers to guide us, we eventually arrive to where we can feelling-intelligently guide ourselves.
There’s an unraveling process to practice that is unique to each practitioner, but the process is NOT random.
Lunge was one of the poses that got me this morning. An intensity so loud in the front outer hip that I couldn’t outshine. Only after did I notice my utter disconnect to any sort of intention or dedication while in the scorch (and I wonder, would that have changed anything?). But I was determined to stay in the lunge because THIS is one of the three primary places that need to open. I’ve known it for a while and somehow I keep repeating the same closure.
The other pose is what I call pouncing cat, where from downward facing dog, chest shifts forward to between hands and reaches forward, elbows take a small bend (nowhere near chaturanga), knees bend to hover over floor, and tailbone reaches upward. I simply couldn’t sustain the intensity through my outer chest area and upper arms.
Both poses brought up self-criticism and anger.
And then, as one point during the sequence, Sofia came over while we were being instructed into a twisted lunge. She touched my spine behind my heart and distant sadness spread across my back. I noticed the emotion come and go as I focused on breathing into my form. Then, nearing the end of practice, after coming out of a bridge pose, sacrum laying flat, kidneys lifted, arms long on floor, knees bent and feet floating in the air, sadness surfaced, spilling out through quivering lips and welling up in eyes.
Trust is what my teacher said, after practice finished and she had us share our energetic experience. Trust the emotion. And through that, trust your devotion. For as she always says, “real Yoga begins at the point of failure,” to which I add, “sprinkled graciously with humor.”