It feels strange that tomorrow I will not be dragging myself out of bed at 5:00 a.m. for yoga. For the last three weeks, M-F, I left the house at 6:15 a.m. for a 6:30 a.m. yoga class. In full disclosure, it was only the last week I made it all five days. The previous two weeks I made it four. However, I wish I was going tomorrow. What was a slight curiosity, turned into a journey back to myself.
I was surprised I was even drawn to this class not to mention I stuck with it for the entire three weeks!! I am not a morning person nor has yoga held much appeal to me. Historically, dance & Pilates have always trumped yoga. The last several months I have been looking for way to reconnect with my body and emotions. I was looking at Gabrielle Roth’s dance workshops or Reggie Ray’s meditating with the body workshops, but then the yoga immersion workshop landed in my in-box. I read the paragraph that described dropping habits and learning to know the difference between settling into and settling for and the difference between the head and the heart, I was hooked!
Once registered I received an e-mail that outlined the homework (so to speak) for the next three weeks. LISTEN LEARN & DO. The charge was to practice something new. Step one was to pick one or two habits to simply neglect to do for three weeks. Step two was to pick one thing to do every day that was self nourishing and supportive. Step three was to associate a feeling to the nourishing to do so the doing becomes being. I picked my habits and nourishing new things to adopt, but my main focus was to show up, be present, and curious to what arose.
At the start of the second week I noticed an inner calmness as I left the dark morning to enter the studio and take a seat on my mat. When I walked out of the studio into daylight, the air felt crisper, the colors brighter, and overall I felt more connection to the universe.
What I discovered was a different connection to myself that I have not felt in my years of meditation practice. I connected with my body and moved closer to really feeling into what do I want. I finally understand what it means to get completely out of my head and drop into my feeling self. And, most importantly, I find myself stopping and asking more often what do I want. Taking that minute to ground myself before responding.
I experience meditation and yoga very differently. One is not a replacement for the other, but for me one enhances the other. Yoga helps me drop more into my body during meditation and meditation facilitates connecting with the breath during yoga. My neophyte explanation of my experience is that meditation is practice to drop the storyline and be present with whatever is in the NOW. Yoga is a connection with what is present in the body- what needs to be released, expressed, and/or supported. I have no doubt advanced yogis or meditators would put forth a completely different explanation, but this captures my current thoughts, always subject to change, on my experience.
I recently read the below and found the writers words captured exactly the challenge of describing an experience.
“Even though we’re making our way through an enormous mystery, we often think we do a pretty good job of trying to explain just how things are—until we actually experience the thing we’re trying to explain. Then we realize our words and ideas are like trying to grab a single drop of rain in a thunderstorm.
There is an old Zen saying that you can try to explain to someone how an orange tastes but how can you describe it, really? Until you’ve tasted an orange, you have no way of truly knowing. And once you’ve tasted one, what is there to say?” Ed Brickell, Genesis Run, Winter 2008.