05 July, 2013

The space between the poses

Today was Power Vinyasa with Sue Bonanno at Open Doors.

Class was so hot and humid, due to Boston weather (over 90 degrees by 10:30am) that Sue had to go easy on us. Thankfully, she did. The challenge became maintaining integrity and focus in the face of limited air, and stinging sweat streaming into my eyes. At the start of class, when we set an intention, my first thought was honestly "Survive." That didn't seem like much of a positive intention, but that was the impulse. I believe I traded up for "Maintain Integrity," which is slightly better.

The thought that occurred repeatedly in today's class was actually a quote of Patrick Gray: "The yoga is in the space between the poses."

That really rang true for me today. Remembering to return to stillness as quickly as possible. Like nothing happened. It's challenging. In some ways, today was a little more like a Bikram class. We would do something intense and then offset it with something to recover. She taught quite well to accommodate the conditions.

Another thing that struck me today is that Patrick's quote is quite like the reading Elizabeth shared about letting go of things gracefully. They for together well. The suffering and struggle of the practice is not meant for is to cling to. The sensations are meant to be experienced fully, but only transiently, as we do the poses. Then we are meant to gracefully return to stillness. This, off the mat, is the holy grail. Stillness with all that is.

I am watching myself get a little attached to ideas. Hoping. Wondering. Anticipating. And these sensations are not "Here & Now." They are states of mind. And as soon as I start doing these things I also begin bracing myself for the opposite outcomes. So I start experiencing both fear and hope simultaneously. Those are strange bedfellows. And not particularly appropriate ones.

Return to stillness as quickly as possible. The past is unreachable. The future is unfathomable.

Problem is, it's kind of fun to hope...

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