YOGA: All, At Once

Beware that you do not lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
— Aesop

I was flat on my back, my right thumb, index and middle fingers holding on to my right big toe. As soon as I straightened my right leg, I stretched through my left heel to activate that leg.  It's a natural response, brought on by years of practicing and teaching yoga, to see that all parts of my body are aligned and aware while doing a pose. All, at once.

When I put one foot up on the wall (pictured), it should only go as high as I'm able to stand up straight and in balance. If any part of me is quivering, my nervous system may be sounding an alarm and I back off, do less.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could do that with the rest of my life? 

I would then choose only the things that nurture my mind, body and soul. I'd be appreciative of my past, for all that it has taught me. I'd move and act joyfully in the present, while holding the comfort and safety of my future self in mind.  All, at once.

If I feel out of balance, that I'm doing too much of any one thing, I'd back off, do less.

Wouldn't it be nice?

 

Once in a yoga workshop, my teacher led us through a challenging sequence of poses and suggested:

Always do it with Joy and Peace rather than with weakness or incapacity.

Get better with Peace and Joy.

Get better without aggression.

When you finally get it, you will do it gracefully.

In yoga and in life, I may not be able to do everything, but I do want to do everything that I'm able to do, gracefully. Therefore, I practice.