Though I am sitting in the library supposedly starting on my final paper for my Global Women’s Issues class, I feel the pull to blog a bit first. Feminist theory will just have to wait! As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, I have become much more of an observer than I was before. Meaning, I do not need to get the last word in or be the life of the party. I have found myself content with observing the things around me and since this new perspective, I have seen things that I would before have never noticed. But more importantly, I have become much more observant of the things going on withIN me. I am noticing things that I normally would never see or feel. I owe this new perspective to my yoga practice, as it has heightened by since of awareness to the world around me but more importantly the world within in me.
One thing that I have continually noticed is how much my asana practice and life in general are so similar to each other. Six days a week I rise before the sun, roll out my mat, breath, move, do, and feel all with careful awareness. As I move and bend certain thoughts and emotions come up…happiness, sadness, or even anger. Rather than reacting, I observe. Why do I feel this way when I bend or stretch this way? What purpose does it serve me? We hold on to emotions and energies in our body…they get caught in our joints, muscles, organs, ect. So we we start to move and activate these parts, they began to surface. Once they surface, we become aware that we have held on to them. Letting go is the hardest part, but it is much harder to let go when you aren’t even aware they exist! Back in March I remember going through about a three week period of intense anger and frustration when I got to my stomach in second series (shalabhasana, bhekasana, dhanurasana, and parshva dhanurasana). I would just want to quit there and be done for the day, but I would continue till my stopping point. Even though I did not want to, I would ask myself again, why do you feel this way at this moment? Everyday for three weeks right when I got to my belly, I would ask myself this. Then one day I just knew the answer. I had still never let go of my eating disorder. How I physically harmed my body for four years. How I would binge and purge after every meal, and then hate myself for doing it. I was still holding on to it, and it remained hidden in my gut, which makes total sense. With this realization, I began to think how far I have come and how much I have grown, and how thankful I was (still am!) for the process. And just like that, the anger and frustration left.
Life- I wake up and life starts again. I breath, move, do, and feel. This was once done with no real mind/body connection, I was just moving through the motions. But now, again thanks for my asana practice, I do life with much more awareness. When people do or say certain things, or when uncomfortable situations happen, I have began to observe first before I react. I ask myself why did that make me feel that way? What purpose does it serve me? Though, this is still very much a work in progress, but at least I am aware. Do I still react first? Yes. Do I still have moments of anger, frustration, and sadness? Yes. I’m human.
So just like my asana practice, I wake up and do life everyday. Life itself is a practice!! Thats when the real yoga practice starts. Sharath would always say during conference, “Asana practice is 2 hours in the morning, yoga practice in 24 hours.” Life happens, it doesn’t get harder or easier, it doesn’t change. But the way we react to life and how we see life, is what changes our own lives. All things in life are temporary, the bad and the good. To be an observer, is to be in the moment whether it is sweet or stressful. FEEL it, assess it, and then release it. When you can fully be immersed in the great moments and learn from the worst moments, life becomes so much sweeter.
Okay, I really should get back to my paper but I felt the need to share to clear my head, as these are the things I constantly think about. If these kind of small epiphanies are happening after only 7 months of a daily ashtanga practice, its a bit overwhelming to think what they will be after 7 years and more. Yoga will change your life, if you allow it too.
All my love,