Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ready for transformation?

Yoga, as it transforms your body, transforms you psychologically, mentally, and it ends up transforming your life. Some of us go in to it maybe looking for that transformation, and some of us just go in without knowing what will hit us. The yoga practice itself, and the adjustments that you get, slowly open your body, and every bodily opening lead you to experience some kind of change; sometimes immediately and sometimes later on in your daily life.
            These openings happen every time you practice yoga. Sometimes staying in some poses takes you there, and sometimes getting an adjustment in a familiar pose.  Staying in some poses may feel really strong, such as Fire log pose (Agnistambhasana). Some adjustments may bring up this feeling as well, such as the adjustment one would get in Baddha Konasana. These are very strong hip openers. Fire log pose (Agnistambhasana) can’t really cause any injuries, and even though it has no threat to your survival, a lot of people immediately want to get out of this pose after 2 or 3 breaths. They resist staying there. Hip openers bring up a lot of intense feelings and sensations. These are probably the emotions we put aside and never wanted to deal with in the first place. However, even though we think we put emotions aside when we don’t want to deal with them, and assume they are thrown out with the garbage, they still stay somewhere in our bodies, and our hips are one of those places. And, when we stay in a hip opener pose, even though we don’t know why, we want to get the hell out of that pose and move on. Probably it is because it will make you face the feelings you feared to face once, and because it will make you face yourself, and things that you have been eluding.
Once you start practicing yoga, and you embrace the challenge and the softness that it contains all at once, then you want to keep getting on that mat. It lures you in. As you welcome it, it starts shaping and changing your body and the way you breathe. By practicing and also getting adjustments, the places, which are blocked in your body, start opening, and you get shaken off from where you have been stuck for years. If you allow these changes in your body, then it gets carried in to the rest of your life. And slowly your yoga practice creeps up from your mat into your daily life, without you even noticing.  Then, slowly, it can shake your core, and destabilize you, eventually ending up destabilizing your life.
No one really tells you about this though when you are at your first yoga class. No one tells you what kind of a journey is waiting for you. No one tells you that if you open yourself to it, your yoga practice is there to take you on a journey within. It will show you your weakness, where you are stuck and blocked; it will show you how you act from your ego over and over again, sometimes by praising yourself, and sometimes thinking that you are not good enough. It shows you that all is coming from ego’s perfectionism, and you are actually perfect the way you are. It will show you your darkest places, the places that you have been hiding from yourself. It will make you face yourself, all of yourself, from top to bottom and each and every corner. It will show you the dark, and then the light, and expect you to accept them all. No one tells you about any of this. However, if you embrace the first coming changes, you are hooked anyway, and you are just waiting for the next ride that will take you deeper within…
What happens as you keep coming on your mat is that, as you keep up with your daily practice, the changes in your body get reflected in your daily life. If you are ready for these changes, you take them in.  You welcome all the changes. Without even knowing, instead of resisting them you welcome them, meaning you are ready for them, and you are ready to get shaken off and get destabilized and experience some life changing transformations. You are ready to go from black to white almost. However, this happens only if you embrace these changes.
If you are content with your life, if you want to keep it the way it is, and don’t want to move anything from its current place, you may not welcome every opening. Some poses may make you want to come out of them all of a sudden, and some adjustments may feel strong, because it is disturbing you mentally. You may want to be holding onto where you are in your life. You may want to keep things the way they are; your relationships, your job, your social life, etc. You may want to hold on to where you are in your life, and that gets reflected in your body. Then when you are getting an adjustment you may want to pull off, because you don’t want to be pushed any further to experience any more opening, because you don’t want to open up more in life, you don’t want to look deeper. You want to stay where you are, which results in strengthening where you are already strong, and turning your head away from the places where you feel weaker keeping your dark sides in the dark, pushing them more under the rug. If that’s the case, then your body contracts in the pose, not allowing it to open more or not accepting any adjustments. If you are not ready for a change mentally, then you will not allow your body to experience such an opening in the asanas (yoga poses) either. You will hold onto wherever you are, the way you are holding on to it in life.
On the other hand, if you have been waiting to crawl out of the life you’ve been living, and habits you have acquired over the years, then this will all feel like a beautiful blessing, a bliss almost  (After every time I am squashed in Paschimottanasana I sit straight with closed eyes, and watch the effects it has on my body, and a smile creeps up on my face. It feels like bliss). Every opening destabilizes you, but you only welcome it. It shakes you out of your comfort zone; you lose your balance for a while, and you need to put hard work and effort to get your balance again. You may even have to take everything apart in order to put them back in order again, because they start not making any sense to you anymore in the way they had been organized. You need to take everything apart, to put them back in order in a way that they make sense to you again.  It is hard to find your stability again, but that’s why you are here anyway: to work on yourself, to allow this change, this transformation to happen. Your job is yourself, everyday, and you get on your mat to welcome it. If you are thrown out of your comfort zone, and you will be, you feel like you are weak, you are imperfect, and you make mistakes, this is the time for you to work on all those. Every time when you are face to face with your dark sides, it is an opportunity to confront them, and not run away. When you do that, when you confront yourself and dark sides, it turns into a great breakthrough in your personal growth… but if you take a step back and turn and walk away, you are missing a big opportunity to grow…
Your yoga practice will point out your weaknesses; it will make you confront yourself day in and day out. If you are not ready to work on yourself, you will want to walk away…. All I can tell you is, come back on your yoga mat with your heart open, to accept it all. Do your yoga practice from your heart… When you practice yoga with an open heart, then you will keep your heart open for the other experiences that will come as a result of your practice. Let your practice come from your heart and enjoy the ride…

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