daily

Stopping to smell the flowers…

Which is kind of unavoidable as my deck is blooming (at least one flowering plant is, the other 6 or so are still works in progress).

I’ve been wandering around of late, spending more time reading Fallen Leaves by Will Durant. He’s one of my favourite lyrical historians so it’s interesting to hear his own thoughts on what he’s witnessed. A good bit echoes my grandmums’ opinions – my father’s mum never understood the need for women’s suffrage. She always thought we had better things to do than worry about men’s quarrels that would do the world no good. Some of his opinions I obviously disagree with, particularly when it comes to gender roles. But that’s beside the point. I get where he’s coming from in it, because we’ve lost our way and we’re trying to find it. The only issue is that in losing our way, we’ve found other routes and “trinkets” that now need integrating.

Which brings me to a thought I’ve been pondering – yoga. One of the blogs I’ve been reading and absorbing is written by a woman who grew up in the culture that has grown out of the Vedic teachings. I can’t fully sum up her opinions in a manner that will do her any justice here, but in my words – Americans are good at messing up good things in the name of improvement. We’ve pretty much perfected the process, mastered possibly.

At any rate, I’ve been taking inventory of my inclusion in the American yoga community and I’ve really started distancing myself. Sure, I’d love to feel the energy of a yoga rave or the community created at Wanderlust, but every time I look at the things going on I find it akin to the newly converted – who never get over that new conversion smell. It’s like all these people who are throwing themselves out there and holding themselves up as this awesome product to be sold. Spouting $0.05 wisdom as if they have opened a fortune cookie every minute or so. I don’t doubt their dedication to their practice or the fact that they’d probably still be doing what they’re doing if the audience was smaller. It’s the display.

It’s why so many people love Pope Francis, he comes off as authentic in who he presents himself as being. And I think that’s where I fall off the bandwagon. I don’t pretend to know sanskrit, and have had several of my clients correct my pronunciation of it (which is fine, as they got 2 years of it in school the same way we get our 2 years of some foreign or dead language in ours). I recognize the vibrational aspect of the language and how it relates to our bodies. I even recognize the easy description that it provides for the postures and actions – if you know the language. But none of that is any use for a casual student who is just starting out on their journey and learning to incorporate the whole concept into their life. Same goes for my gymnastics students…

As I told one of my clients, gymnastics was the sport that gave me more life lessons than any other sport I participated in. For all events, it’s a balance between strength and flexibility, grace and athleticism, and above all humility. My students are beginners, mostly. They fall often and lack the strength that the events truly require. But that’s life. You start out with one skill and build on it. You fall down, get back up. If getting back up is difficult you find a new way to get back up. If your body isn’t built for one skill, you modify it. If strength is the issue, you keep at it till your body is strong enough. Every day you are pushing one limit or another and finding that you can step past yesterday. That fear? You find it’s gone or learn that fear is what holds you back, but also pushes you further.

But the humility. You learn that on day 1. You learn that there are things you naturally just can’t do, that someone else can. You have days where you can do nothing but fall. Over and over. Your balance is off, you’re tired, you can’t concentrate. The drama that you thought you left at the door suddenly found its way in. Life. You’re good at one event but another one is just a giant brick wall that you can’t see around. Society. The petty teammate who wants nothing more than to see you fail. The coach who is yelling at you out of love. The gym moms… Your friends who don’t understand why you can’t play hooky. The guy that’s interested in you but you don’t even notice the hints (even though you’re interested, too). All those other things you want to do, but aren’t important right now. Sacrifice.