Monday, March 12, 2012

A Duck, A Breath, and Yoga Off the Mat.

I think I've made it clear in the past few weeks that my life can be pretty stressful.  February to March is one of the more hectic periods (which included 6 concerts in 3 weeks this year), compounded this year by construction in my home and my classroom.  Suck.

And yet, despite all of the noise in the world around me, I took on more responsibilities, maintained my yoga practice and came out with my sanity mostly intact (save for a few hours in the final days before my culminating performances.)

That's not to say I was perfect--I'm not--but I've found that in recent months that I'm calmer and can stay more focused when things go wrong.  (And boy can they go wrong.  Remind me to tell you about getting my kids to Festival on Saturday morning.  It was quite the rodeo...)  But I find I can focus on my breath and be more like a duck--calm on the surface while still treading water and contemplating the best direction to take.

One of the four defining Yoga sutras states, "Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah."  Yoga begins when the movements of the mind end.  I have noticed that in any number of situations--when I'm stressed at work, when Duff Man & I are having a misunderstanding, when Murphy's Law is working in full force and everything that can go wrong IS going wrong--these days I'm much more likely to stay calm and focused.  To do a quick kosha analysis.  To subdue my frustration at the situation and focus my energy on how to resolve the problem.

What's been most fascinating to me lately is the way I observe this form of yoga in others.  The practice of Pratyahara--turning inwards--I've seen in friends and colleagues.  It's pretty neat to be on the outside watching someone practice yoga (real yoga, not just asana) and they don't even realize it.  To talk with someone observe their statuses or tweets or posts as they realize that, in order to come to peace with a situation, they need to turn inwards and observe the qualities within themselves that are causing that reaction.

On the other hand, the opposite is also true.  It can be frustrating (if you allow it) to watch others you care about struggle and flap and flail in the water as they allow every little situation get under their skin.  

But how do you convince someone to slow down and breathe when they're not interested in that hippie-dippie-yoga-mumbo-jumbo-bullshit?

I don't know the answer--but if you find it, let me know.  I'll be sitting here treading water in the meantime.

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