I don’t think I have ever met someone who doesn’t like Spring. There is a feeling of new in the air. Who doesn’t like new!? I rake out my garden beds and there are small clumps of perennials making their way out to the light. The garden looks so good as we head into May with all the new growth, before it gets too hot in the dead of summer. Everything is fresh and spring cleaning is a real thing, I have the urge to organize and re-do, paint and decorate. The possibilities are endless.
Isn’t it funny how this season can bring that out? There is an energy shift that happens in Spring. I don’t know what it would feel like to live in an area without the big swing in the light/dark cycle like we have here. But, walking out of the studio at 7:30 pm and being met by the light of day is a real game changer after the long months of winter.
I like to get into the dirt and work with my hands. I like to figure out what is going to grow best where in my yard. Never fully satisfied with how everything comes out and always digging up something and moving it to another spot to test out. It is a constant exploration for me. And sometimes the bane of my existence, all of this to do, so much work and tilling and digging and I am tired and my hands hurt and I am getting old by the way. Is this too much for me? Of course, ask for help when needed. Yes, I do that now too.
A student in the teacher training asked about why we do the poses we do. If it isn’t about finding some optimal “alignment” of this foot/toe/leg/arm/pelvis, then why? Good question. Of course, because we are alive and we are in these bodies and these bodies like/need to move. In all ways, in many ways, not just in the same way all the time. And also, we step onto our feet and we stimulate the arches and it stimulates blood/lymph/fluid right through to the pelvic halves, to our spine, to our heart and brain. The weave of connective tissue is awake and alive and transfers information in our bodies. Our brain and spinal cord are washed in cerebral spinal fluid and the movement of our pelvis redirects this wash back up the center channel. The movement of our muscles directs blood through our body so the heart doesn’t have to work as hard pumping. Let’s not even talk about nadis, the subtle energy channels that make up the inner working of our entire system!! We would need another article. I think you get the point, a lot to consider.
We need to dig into ourselves too. Our bodies are earth, we are the same stuff. Why do we always think of nature as only something outside? We are nature. It is not some separate thing. We are moving through cycles of light and dark, yes and no, mobility and stability, inhale and exhale, expansion and contraction. Our bodies are a microcosm of this universe. You just keep going in and in and you keep finding more. You break things down and it doesn’t get smaller, it gets bigger. You don’t do downward facing dog once and declare “I got it!” Done. Next.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 3.2 – Tapah-Svadhyayesvara-pranidhanani kriya yogah
Kriya yoga – the path of action consists of self discipline/ardor, study and surrender/dedication to the Divine.
This is a yoga of doing. Do the work, keep digging, take some time to reflect, sit next to yourself and then decide, yes or no? What do you keep working on, what do you surrender to? How do you discern when it is time to let go? Sit next to yourself, dig more, keep excavating.
The physical practice, the asanas that we do in classes, is just one tiny part of this. But it is an important part to me. This is my body, this is my vehicle. Why wouldn’t I want to know myself better? (good question, maybe the answer is scary, if so, dig more, do more) The asana is not done with fleeting thoughts and disregard, this is an effortful steadfast practice over a long period of time. This is a re-examining of ourselves at the cellular level. We change the hum (aum) of every cell when we use our consciousness to pierce through each layer. We slowly peel away these layers until only the true Self is left. Who is that?? How long does it take?? Maybe done in 20 minutes, maybe 20 years, maybe 20 lifetimes. Don’t worry, you won’t get bored. So much to know, to uncover, to reveal.
If anyone reading this is a gardener, you know you don’t just plant something once and never touch it again. You enter into relationship when you dig that hole in the ground. A lifetime of tiny adjustments or sometimes big movements to get it just right and then you start over and over and over.
Keep doing, keep practicing, stay steady and sweet. Dig in.