Superficial as Beneficial


Thursday, May 24, 2018
6:59 PM
I came to yoga, like many do, looking for injury relief. I also came to compliment my strength, find physical flexibility, and for the fun of building a new skill.  What I did not anticipate was the creeping GOOD feeling that accompanied me off the mat every class. What is the positive version of insidious? A slow, surreptitious self acceptance. A lurking self love. A resurgent sense of autonomy - that actions taken can have desirable consequences. And a sneakily growing sense of trust in something bigger than myself.

And now that that trust was building upon itself, and my acceptance of my current mind and body growing, where was I to direct my self-improvement efforts? Where could I turn for engagement when the present was presently…fine? When the outside world held delight instead of satisfaction, my gaze naturally turned in.

Asanas continuously give me the opportunity to engage with the fluctuations of my bodymind. I can see where I am on the spectrum in a given moment. If I find flow and ease, generally it's a creative day where I feel inspired to connect with others, play with the dogs, and do the dishes. If the other side of the coin is up and there is no satisfaction to be found in any of the shapes my body makes, I know it's probably OK to take some time for myself instead. Or, as it most often is, a mix of these two extremes I can begin to accept them for what they are : fluctuations. Inherent parts of the self beyond right and wrong.

Asanas hold up the mirror, the microscope to these fluctuations. I can use these superficial shapes not only to build physical resilience (look good) and as a measuring stick to feel productive (act good), but to do the real work of observing and noticing the ego in action. 

It is so easy to reap the external benefits of a yoga practice - as is earned - moving the body is hard work, not to mention noticing the mind! There is an opportunity here to watch. The watcher gazes out with clear sight through the filters of judgement and limitation to the asana. And when I remember to see through the eyes of the deeper observer, and have the courage to truly see the reflection, I FEEL pretty damn good. The superficial is pretty damn beneficial.

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