To Get In The Water, You Have to Trust It
Tonight is the YOGA Garden Spring Equinox class! All proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood of Minnesota. Here’s the schedule:
Meditation – 6:00 – 6:20, $5 (lead by yours truly)
All-Levels Vinyasa Yoga – 6:30 – 8:00, $15 (taught by all the YOGA Garden teachers)
With the Equinox, as the sun is half way between our darkest day of the year, and our lightest day of the year, our seasons are starting to follow that light, and come into the time of WATER. This class is first for the YOGA Garden studio and community, tagging on the popularity of our Winter Solstice class, and following our studio theme of using the five elements and the concept of cycles as descriptors for the physical body and our lives.
WATER COMING OUT OF EARTH, THE NEXT CYCLE OF THE YEAR:
WATER is motion, and fluidity, and flow. It is the first stage in any progress. It is change. It can also be chaos, and upheaval, and destruction. It is said to be the most powerful of the elements because it can move earth, cause wind, extinguish fire, and interact with ether in the form of clouds. Here in Minnesota, we get seasons that allow us to see a cycle mapped onto the calendar year very clearly: While we’ve been in the part of the year that signifies earth, our world has been (largely) frozen. Things are still, and dark, and quiet. This concept is where support lives. In yoga poses, it is our foundation – our feet, hands, knee, whatever body part meets the mat. In our lives it is our home to protect us from the elements (or predators, if we look at the history of human-dom). It is our supply of nourishment and financial means. When the concept and quality of earth is in excess, it is also where things get stuck and stifling.
BUT NOW, WE ARE MOVING INTO THE TIME OF WATER…
AND SO A STORY!
(Duh, this is me writing.)
Just like the new seeds that will soon be making their way out of the Earth as plants, they
need water before they can bust open and start growing. Just like a pose that you want to be able to do… Just like a goal that you want to achieve in your life… Just like the notion that cellular turnover within the body promotes healing and growth… we need water before we can grow.
Yoga is not a path to achieve perfection.
Of course, Instagram might imply otherwise, but go with me for a moment: If you got into ANY new venture expecting perfection you would surely receive a fat dose of disappointment – ahem, the ol’ “you can’t learn to swim ’till you get into the water.” (See how I worked that in there??) Now for some of us, we love a new adventure – we’ll throw caution to the wind and try anything for the sake of “let’s see what happens.” Bravo to us. May we have excellent health insurance for the times when we go too far in that direction.
But the idea of getting into the water is terrifying for some of us.
We don’t know how deep it is, we’re not sure if we’re going to like what it feels like, and what’s more, we have no idea what’s under the surface or where we might end up once we GET into the water… These are real feelings, and they are real limitations. Sometimes our limitations protect us. And sometimes they hold us back. So, let’s look at the process:
Just because we can’t be perfect (there’s no such thing as perfect – click heels – there’s no such thing as perfect – click heels…) doesn’t mean we don’t want to be better. We all want to improve, and we want our improvement to have a ripple effect to allow us to better our family, financial status, community, etc. But getting into the water requires a lot of trust.
And so if you’re not a person who can easily embrace the adventure, the challenge, the flowing rush that water can bring us; If instead, you’re stuck in dread or disapproval of the inevitable change, I’ll steal one of the teaching concepts of classical yoga:
Aparigraha or “non-possessiveness.”
It is one of the five Yamas or “restraints,” which is one of the eight limbs used to explain and describe the path to enlightenment, as per classical Astanga (or eight-limbed) yoga. Now, in Tantric yoga, we take these concepts and tools for “enlightenment,” and observe how they weave through the process of creation down here in our current life on Earth.
So…. non-possessiveness. Letting go. Allowing your fear, your resisting, your anxiety to be separate from you in this moment. Allowing yourself to try something new, even when you don’t know what its going to be like. Even when it seems a little awkward. A little weird. And even if you can’t shake these feelings, if you can’t figure out how to allow trust to replace these feelings… Maybe you just take your anxiety, and your fear with you. Let it sit there, but ask that it also allow room on the mat for trust. Trust, that you are in the presence of friends, and competent teachers, who will allow you to try and fail. Who will allow you to test the waters. To find your own flow, your own fuel.
It takes a lot of TRUST to get in the water.