Waterfalls have a special significance for me, they have brought both love and flow into my life. When we allow space for the sensation of flow we acknowledge our obstacles yet allow ourselves to stay open, curious; to listen to what part of our story they are intersecting with and find new or different ways of moving with and around them. Flow requires both the courage to listen deeply and a willingness to change direction in order to stay on our truest course.
As an only child in the pre-digital 1970’s I spent a lot of time entertaining myself - I was an explorer - one of my favourite things to do was to take a mirror and hold it at waist level facing up to the ceiling then try to walk around the house - my feet (body) were on the ground, but my eyes (perception) were seeing only the reflection of the ceiling - I loved the strange sensation of getting to a light fitting and feeling the involuntary twitch of my leg to step over something that I knew deep down wasn’t really beneath my feet. Sometimes when we come up against an obstacle a little shift in perspective can be all it takes to help us find the true ground beneath our feet.
Last week we practiced listening to our stories, the beliefs we hold that affect how we show up in our practice and whilst it is important that we are always gentle with our stories, they have given us something we needed to get us this far, perhaps you also noticed how some of those stories can create obstacles in our practice. This week I want to explore re-framing or exploring a pose from different angles and seeing what we find. Use some of the poses from the first “sequence for uncertain times” in week one to arrive on the mat, then explore approaching Parsvottonasana from Utthita Hasta Padasana, from Adho Mukha Svanasana and from Prasarita Padottonasana to see what the differing approach brings. If doing it all in one day is too much take one approach each day - but be aware of any other variables you might be bringing in if you do it this way - time of day, temperature, digestion etc.
Throughout your practice notice the changing qualities of your key pose in body, mind and breath. How does the it change each time? What do you gain, what do you lose when you take a different route to your destination? Does the different journey change your outlook when you are there? Remember it is not about picking your favourite method, that would be falling into the trap of rigidity, it would be narrowing your horizon again - instead notice the subtler qualities, be curious about how the journey affects the destination and try to let go of fixed ideas about what your practice should be for today - if you begin this way but something calls to you, follow it - maybe you will realise another that pose might help you access something deeper or shift a blockage in this one, try it, play be curious.
Then again at the end of the practice, in Savasana, notice the qualities of the body, the mind and the breath……then notice that there is something else, something more that can witness body, mind and breath….can you notice its qualities too?
And of course we need a poem for the week
Lost by David Wagoner:
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
In this time of uncertainty I have no wish to add to the noise in this world. I leave these writings for those I have shared Yoga with, so our community may continue and flourish - as ever take what you need and leave the rest...