That’s the lettering on the front of a t-shirt I bought today from the Brazos Healing Center where I’ve been doing yoga. I kept staring at the shirt on the wall by the door for weeks before I finally decided I needed to own one for myself. Because something about that message really speaks to me and where I am in my journey right now.
It really does.
I like the shirt not only for the reference it makes to a well-known and often quoted aphorism about life and the yogic twist of the message in this case, but because the latter message is as equally true as the first, but much more seldomly remembered.
It’s certainly been happening to me. I’m glad to be back in yoga classes and these yoga classes in particular. I never would have expected to find honest-to-goodness yogis in the middles of Texas, but I’ll take what I can get.
It’s a new kind of yoga – for me, anyway. It’s called freedom style yoga and I really enjoy it. Every day before class the instructor asks us how our day has been (in the real way and not the social platitude way). This is in part to check energy and stress levels, but also gives an opportunity for us to say we’d like to work on balance, or hips, or lower back today. And we don’t always get everything in, but it lets the class be tailored to our needs.
When I first came to Texas I tried to take yoga at the Rec Center, but all too often the “teachers” were undergraduate students in Kinesiology who tried to turn yoga into an exercise contest of who was working hard enough or breaking into enough of a sweat. And I have enough “enoughs” in my life already. I want to use yoga as a way to be in my body and be good to my body and get centered and focused and find some semblance of peace.
Freedom style yoga, at least the way we’re doing it now, seems to provide me some of that. We do meditation at the top of every class and we work to breathe and play around in the edges of sensations, keeping in mind that the first edge of a pose can be different today than it was yesterday or last week or will be tomorrow. We unblock our energy and get rid of the bad stuff and let the good stuff flow in. We LET good things flow in. We LET poses get deeper. We don’t force anything or do anything that hurts or feels bad.
And it may sound like a load of crap to some people but that’s the kind of yoga that is beneficial for me, even if it’s not for everyone. My current instructor is versed in all the branches of yogic practice even if she mostly practices hatha yoga with us. (If you don’t know what I mean about yoga being more than the poses we typically associate it with in the West, this article will give you an idea: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/26/being-yoga_n_695707.html).
Getting back in touch with the spiritual side of yoga has been good for me in this time of upheaval and change. It’s been helping me get focused and centered and manage my emotions/stress/fear about the changes I am going through. I really think yoga can help us figure out how to live our lives well – even when they’re not the lives we imagined we’d be living. I think it can teach us to whether the changes that threaten to overpower us. Help us to find ourselves. Show us how to make small choices that improve our quality of life when we have no control over the big stuff. How to bloom where we’re planted. All that jazz.
Or maybe I’m full of crap and it only helps me.
But even so, it helps me.
Shift happens. It’s been happening to me, if only in spurts so far. I’m still bad at translating yoga into my day-to-day life outside of class, but I’m hoping to get better at that through repetition.
If you’re interested in learning more, the website for my yoga instructor can be found here: http://www.cariegarrett.com/