Thursday, 22 May 2014

An Undoing

Undo all of the tension.  Come to your mat, every day, every week; move and meditate and breathe in the way that you always should but rarely do.  Be alive inside your body and luxuriate in that.    Undo all of the tales you have told, all of the times you got angry or upset, the times you gossiped and were unkind, the hurts that still sting, the day that went wrong.  Unwind all of the tightness that developed within, as your body and mind responded to your days.

Undo the tiredness, use your practice to refresh yourself, as though you could pop a descaling tablet in side yourself and watch it fizz away all those late nights, all that too-much stress, all that rushing, rushing, rushing about.

Undo the harshness, the struggle and the striving.  The world can be a difficult place, you have had a lot to bear and you have done it with as much grace as possible.  Your teenagers will harangue you, your toddlers press all of your buttons, your daily commute will test every ounce of patience you have, you have tried so hard to keep up.  On your mat rediscover your gentleness, that inner softness which radiates outwards if you let it.  In your practice vow not to let the hardness of the world work its way into how you live your life.  Stay soft; stay true to that gentle heart of yours.  There is such strength in gentleness.

Undo the limitations in your body and mind.  You set your own restrictions - nobody else can do that - and if you are setting them, then you can expand them too.  Broaden your ideas of who you are and what you can achieve and you will surprise yourself, every day, every week, on your mat and in your life.

Undo the tightness in your body and brain; stretch out your muscles, flex your mind, remember, as you move through your asana practice how strong you really are, in heart and in body.  Move with grace and power, always a combination of those two elements, the surrender and the will; the acceptance and the dedication to move forward with your life, with your practice, in love.  Leave aside the thoughts you might have about the way your body is - too fat, too ill, too injured, too stiff, too weak - you are you, here is your body, it works!  There is a practice for every moment, for every season of living and there is a way of accepting it all, with gratitude.

Undo the sadness, the disappointment, the little knocks that life will give you.  Release your own infinite sense of joy.  Your feet on your mat, your arms stretching upwards, the way you can move this way and that; no, not like someone on YouTube or in a magazine, but just like you, how you are here, today and there is beauty in that simple thing, both inner and outer expressions of it.  Sitting in meditation, you breathe and you watch your busy mind doing its busy thing and you remember that you are part of something much bigger, perfectly small and absolutely integral to that great and wonderful whole.  You remember that your sadness will pass into that whole and that it will swallow it up gladly and let you move on.

Every day you do.
And in yoga you undo.
You undo all that you have done that stands in the way of true understanding: of your own beauty and rightness, your wholeness, your natural sense of peace, your love for yourself and for everything else.  Yoga restores you to yourself and reminds you what is really important; it moves you towards confidence in and contentment with who you really are. 

Yoga stops you from getting caught up in the net of who, why, when and how; it brings you, with gratitude, to the great, It Just Is.

The world doesn't need outstanding people doing brilliant things, although those people do exist and how wonderful they are; the world needs ordinary people doing ordinary things, but who smile and are quick to laugh, who see the good in other folk and who give their time to talk with strangers, who know how to care for themselves and therefore have so much to give.  The world needs mothers and fathers, businessmen and waiters, shop-keepers and doctors, accountants and cab-drivers, nurses and office-workers who smile, who know how to show love, who are patient and kind. 

The world needs people who know how to undo all of the difficulty and hurt, so that they don't get caught up in those things or let them dictate the way they move through the world.  The world needs people who have the self-awareness to be kind in the face of another's impatience and generous in the face of someone else's bad mood.

If you ask me what humans are like, I answer that they are intrinsically kind, good, full of heart, but that some of them have been hurt and are afraid.  Some of them don't know about yoga, so they stay hurt and afraid; they live their lives looking through the lens of hurt and afraid.  In yoga we learn to process hurt and afraid and move on through to love and courage.

Yoga is the great undoing of all that stands between you and your best self.
Yoga is a reminder, a blessing, a return. 
Yoga is a coming together and an understanding: it unites, even as it shows you how to stand your ground and be true to what you believe.
Yoga gives you the strength to live your own life, unsullied by anyone else's ideas of what that should look like.  It gives you the flexibility to adapt and recover when you meet trouble. 
Yoga brings courage - heart-strength.

Yoga is not magic - it does not give you things that you don't already have.  All of these things existed within you on the day that you were born: you are peace; you have courage; you know joy; you are love.  Yoga is simply a method for unpicking the web that you have stitched across your mind and heart that keeps you from knowing and believing this truth. 

You are racing all over the hillside searching for a treasure that is buried in your own garden.  Stop running and looking everywhere else; stand still and dig deep; everything you wish for is there.

Namaste.