Happy (Mindful) Monday!
The past few weeks have been filled with many changes: moving, settling-in, recalibrating to city living, job searching and yoga studio hopping…just to list a few. Needless to say, my writing schedule has been gently thrown off course. New schedules, new routines and new patterns are slowly starting to arise. Autumn is just around the corner, a perfect time to let go of old patterns (more on the Autumn Equinox soon, that deserves its own post). All the changes over the past few weeks have been making me more aware of the concept of transitions. Transitions in life and transitions in yoga.
During a master yoga class this summer, I overheard two colleagues catching up. After going through the typical lists of upcoming changes, one yogi said to the other “Life is really just one big transition.” Yes, I thought, that is really the concept I have been grappling with the past few months. Nothing is static. Nothing is permanent. Life fluctuates from one transition to the next. Sometimes gracefully. Sometimes with a stutter. Sometimes not quite the way that you envisioned but the transition always happens. Change is inevitable. If I stop changing, stop transitioning or stop growing, that is when the real issues arrive. A state of constant stasis is not good. There is no “Achieve A, stop. Achieve B, stop. Achieve C, stop.” Often, that static moment success is what the western world promotes: a stable job, a house, a good work out routine, etc. then you will be happy, successful, beautiful, etc. Within those concrete confines, there must be fluctuations. The stable job will be a dead-end if there is no movement. The house will fall to disrepair. The body will plateau. There must be fluidity within the seemingly grounded and stable environment. Rather, I find life is more like “Head towards A, but double check in a little bit. Oops, we are past A. Recalibrate and keep going towards C.” Even the calmest of lakes have a slight ripple or else the water will become stagnant and uninhabitable. This year, I am learning to be more like water. Flowing over, under, around and through. Adapting to the space I am in. Being calm, yet not quite completely still.
On my yoga mat, I have discovered that practice is just one constant transition. Yes, there are poses that appear static. Some are even described as balance poses but the breath never stops. The heart never stops. Each time I revisit a certain pose that day, week, month or even year, it feels different. The pose is always changing within itself and into the next posture. The space between the poses are even richer. When I teach or practice vinyasa yoga, I really find this place of focus powerful. How many times have I taken a “vinyasa” with out thought to form, breath or why? Moved from Warrior 2 into Triangle? Attempted, without preparation, arm balances, backbends, and inversions? If I focus on the “how to” more than the “what shape” my body achieves a deeper sense of balance and sense of groundedness. I move into and out of the pose mindfully, with correct alignment and most importantly with no harm. It is this focus on the how, the space between, and the constant fluctuations within that can bring a certain depth to practice.
Every now and then there is a moment of clarity, peace. A moment where if just feels right. When you actually feel stable in tree pose or headstand. When your body is simeltaneously quiet and alive in savasana. When you feel like your life is falling into place. It is fleeting. It is beautiful. We spend so much time in flux for brief, lovely moments of clarity. Once I realized that yes, life is just one big transition with glimpses of balance, things started to flow with more ease even over the roughest patches.
Growth never ends. Change never ends. Transition never ends. Balance is never far.
What are you transitioning through right now? How can you find a balance of letting go and moving forward?
Peace, Love and Namaste,
Kristin (& Luna)
Side note: In yoga, the Gunas or qualities of nature help describe this concept. There are three Gunas that are said to govern the universe: tamas, rajas and swatta. Tamas is darkness, inertia and stagnancy. Rajas is activity, light and inspiration. Swatta is clear, balanced and ease. Swatta is the goal, but it is a fleeting state. The mind fluctuates between tamas and rajas. Too much tamas is a place of plateau and inactivity, but it is an important aspect to letting go of what is no longer helpful. Too much rajas is a place of excessive movement and turbulence, but a the right amount can lead to great inspiration and growth. It is finding balance of tamas and rajas, yin and yang, ease and effort, stillness and movement that one is trying to achieve. However, this balance (swatta) is always transitional and can only change to stillness (tamas) or movement (rajas).