A good friend of mine loves to repeat “life’s about choices” and in yoga too the choices we make are important from a number of points of view. In this post I’m thinking about the need to observe the body/mind and provide it with the care it requires on a particular day whilst simultaneously remaining open to possibilities and new experiences.
In this holiday break I’ve opened myself to warm yoga at KX Yoga in Malvern. The studio is new and light, warm of course, and each class provides a teacher with an assistant. I’ve previously been closed to the idea of warm yoga but with the gift of a scoopon off I went – and I have enjoyed each class. Although I’m still not a convert to warm yoga, this is a personal choice not an argument, the classes at KX Yoga have been welcoming and the assistance is a gentle guidance rather than firm physical adjustment. There is an important distinction here – unless a teacher knows all the history of your body or you are attending a chiropractic session any contact with you and your body by another body should be one of reverence, no more than a gentle pressure to move you into the direction of the next level in a posture or a correction into a safer form of that posture. The other thing that impressed me at KX was both; that the teacher Mary Beth Donahue asked us why we had come, what we’d like to work on, and that the students responded with requests that had come from svadhyaya/self study. Some were specific they wished to work on their warrior postures and they stated their concerns, others were interested in balances, grounding and one requested flexibility and stretching as their profession gave them strength but limited their body in other ways. Mary Beth honored us all and took us on a journey in which each request was fulfilled. This is fine teaching.
A non-yogic cake & the sky
So svadhyaya comes up again at the moon-bower. I needed to move out of my comfort zone and so I tried warm yoga…I also needed to extend my wings outward as they have been held too close as I’ve been creating La Luna Meditations. Too much focus on one project gives rise to expectations and attachment to outcomes and that is a recipe that bakes a non-yogic cake full of dry personal obstructive and contracted bits that get stuck in your teeth. My choice of metaphorical floss has been to go a little deeper into the practices of the Vijnanana Bhairava and play with the meditation on Swaahaa/offering, as previously mentioned, but to extend this moving into Verse 85 ‘One should contemplate the entire sky which is the nature of Bhairava as if it is pervading one’s head…’
In this contemplation I begin to open my head and it becomes the sky, I open my lower body and it becomes the sky, I open my heart centre and it becomes the sky. Each opening to sky spaciousness brings different sensations. Thoughts are the clouds forming, drifting, dissolving and as each personal obstruction or contraction that I carry surfaces I repeat mentally swaahaa and offer it into the spaciousness of this great sky that has filled/become, gone beyond my physical form. As I continue in this practice my mind falls into and away. There is a sense only of presence. Presence in the spaciousness of the sky.
In that spaciousness I cannot hold onto the need for project outcomes or comparative-failure tendencies there is only the active energy of all things, all consciousness and I am not separate. If I am not separate there is nothing to compare. There is only the choice to bring that spaciousness and lightness back into the physical body I inhabit and to let it flow into my offerings for release into the world and into the moon-bower with abandon – I need to go now and practice ‘wild thing’ – camatkarasana! Then be quiet and wait with patience for my projects to evolve in their own time.
[My guidance for my reading of the Vijnana Bhairava comes from Sally Kempton who offers the doorway of Shakti-Shiva through her teaching,your own practice and the support of a community]