Yesterday I was taking a break from work, doing some yoga.
Yesterday was an annoying day. It started with a gecko in my fridge and went downhill from there.
Yoga is great for calming me down, and it’s also great for jazzing me up. It’s two things.
During the online class, the teacher instructed us to stand and push down through the heels and simultaneously lift up through the chest, taking the arms up overhead. With every movement in yoga, there’s a push and a pull. Two things. It’s an opportunity to explore the transfer of energy in your own body. How to get more out of a movement by exerting energy here… releasing there. How pushing down into the ground can lift your head higher, and even your breath can lift you to new heights.
It was a long and sweaty class, and there were times we would just stop and breathe and feel our heartbeat. Or try to use our breath to stretch into an even bigger breath. Yoga is also expansion and contraction. It’s a reminder to breathe.
It’s sad that we need a reminder to breathe.
The sequence got very intense in some places, sometimes yoga does that, to see what you’re made of… to test your mettle. Where does your mind go when you are challenged? Where do your thoughts take you? Is there anything you need to let go of in order to breathe more freely? Can you be honest in that assessment? Can you find peace in your effort?
We test ourselves this way to remind ourselves that in yoga (or is it life?) there are always two things: effort and surrender.
It is life. Studying yoga is studying life. It is a microcosm of your own life, perfectly encapsulated on your 2×6 mat (or is it a mirror?).
It is a mirror, if you are willing to look into it. Otherwise it’s just exercise.
It is exercise. And tight pants.
It’s two things.