Saturday, April 2, 2011
The intrusive alarm puts an end to my half conscious dream state. My eyes dusty, adjusting to the dim light filtering through the curtained window and it is another day. I begin my ritual of making the bed and sweeping the floor, creating a clean and balanced space conducive to a comfortable asana practice. Showered clean and with teeth brushed I will step into my space and shut the door, perhaps spending a few minutes on the computer checking to see who said what on Facebook and whether there are any newsworthy items to fret about that day. This is usually just a stalling technique because I am still not awake and the thought of exercising for 2 hours seems ridiculous, however necessary it may be. Eventually I will close out the external world and roll out my mat, breath deepening and becoming more focused, eyes softening around the edges and becoming less sculpted by thought. Despite the minds protests the preparation and willingness to practice is there and it is good. The first and hardest step is to show up, but I am here fully. I would have nothing less. This is what I do each morning.
I take this bed stiffened body through a series of warming and opening stretches, still partly present with the ego mind that doesn't want to be here. I honor with acknowledgment and remain where I am because I know in 20-minutes time I will have changed my mind completely. But for now thoughts of that first coffee of the day or a conversation had the night before tug at my presence and it's almost funny because in this space and in this present moment there is nothing less important than what my first girlfriend is doing with her life right now, but such is the nature of the carnival-like mind.
And soon thoughts give way to feeling, opening, deepening and lengthening. The breath which only an hour ago was a bit shallow and filling only about half of my lung capacity is now becoming boundless and full of energy, I can feel it in my eyes which are opening from the inside and seemingly radiating a soft light. Those gentle bodily motions give way to stronger and more realized movements and now it is 20-minutes in and I have changed my mind completely. Sweat begins to bubble to the surface and the alchemy of yoga is taking place. This is why i do this stuff. This is how i spend each morning.
For an hour and some to a couple of hours i expand in awareness, strength and capacity of the body/mind. Some days are a flawless flow and other days are choppy waters full of debris and oil slick and still other days are fierce, hot and sweaty and i wonder just what in the hell i think I'm doing but the beauty and life I am experiencing keeps me here. It is a dance and it is how i want to spend each morning.
Over the years my yoga practice has shifted every which way. It has been weak and in short sessions and it has been explosive in its strength and length. I have felt inspired and opened for weeks on end and have spent months just spinning my wheels, going through the motions and alienating myself from the deeper practice and study of this lifestyle because in our western society this practice has almost become less of a necessity and more of a scene to be seen in. Something with which to puff up our already inflated ego and to identify ourselves with. I struggle with seeing something so beautiful and honest being mired in product placement and the desperate need to look hip with our eco-friendly vegan yoga mat and 'Om Namah Shivaya' tattoo across our low back. This is not why i show up every morning and wake up with opening movement. This is not why i sweat and shake and bake and curse myself for holding a challenging posture for 10 breaths. I do this because it is feeling. I do this because it is the right thing for me to do. I do this because it helps to create a state of play, lightness and acceptance. I do this because it makes me feel amazing, even if halfway through the day something sets me off, it is now that much easier to anchor myself back to this present moment and to let go completely.
No amount of incense or overpriced trinket can replace doing the work. You want a desired result, you show up and you do the work. You keep doing the work and you don't stop even when your lying mind is telling you that you've got it figured out, and in fact that is a sure sign that you've got a lot more work ahead of you because really, with all of our conflicting theories and ideas and 'get spiritual fast' plans, who in their right mind actually has anything figured out? I know I never will nor want to. I'd much rather revel in the question and to just enjoy the ride.
May you all have something that brings you back and opens your heart right up, be it yoga or dance or meditation or playing in a band or chanting Hare Krishna for hours on end. Your bliss is beautiful and always welcomed on this earthy crust we walk on.
Do yourself the biggest favor and keep showing up. That's all you need.
Thank you I love you!