Since the last post in June, I stopped running, biking – all physical activity – including yoga practice…that’s stopped doing asana (physical postures) and pranayama (breath work)…hence the blog being quiet. The summer months became a metaphoric inhale, the opposite of any previous summers that are usually filled with exhale and experiencing the essence of life in action and movement. The inward journey was certainly filled with challenge, questions, agitation and doubt yet, thankfully, all the while walking beside me was curiosity, trust in the darkness that the exhale would come, and an ongoing commitment to spirit and soul.
The choice to stop practicing physical yoga came with a parallel process of working as an Addiction Support Worker with men aged 18-25. It came with the recognition that every human being on this planet deals with addictions of varying degrees – our society as a whole has addictions! I happened to be working with beings that had experienced significant trauma and their tools for numbing the hurt and pain, for covering agitation raised by memories, came in the form of self destructive substances. The honour of being witness to these young men’s journey’s of healing raised a number of reflective questions.
In what forms do my addictions come?
Why do I choose these habits?
What is my mind, body, and spirit experience motivating me to choose these habits?
I became a witness to my agitations and chose to explore them instead of striving to calm them with yoga, running, or physical exertion…the actions of always doing!
So did I really stop practicing through this time of inquiry?
If yoga is the art of being an active participant in union with life, then perhaps in those last few months I deepened the practice?
I returned to the physical asana a week ago – a new beginning! These past 3 months of reflection, investigation with my soul, slowing down and inviting space to enter my life in the places where I would normally practice, run, or do something. The practice of slowly re-orienting the action of always doing and inviting the process of just being to rest a little deeper, has supported many subtle shifts to take place.
Yoga or running never felt like habits…addictions, however, I acknowledge the resistance that rose up within me when I stopped, all the chatter in my mind about why this stupid choice, the doubt, the resentment! I even heard myself say to a friend…”yeah I haven’t gone running in a month except for on my birthday – but it was my birthday, I deserved a quick trail run on my birthday!!” Oh the traps our mind can talk us into!
So the journey of being a witness has deepened and by no means is finished!
This new beginning is embodied with a deeper essence, an exploration in softness and presence in the moments instead of distractions of doing…and it continues to be a journey!
So all this being said, what now?
Don’t take practice or habits for granted.
Investigate what comes up if you alter your habits or choices.
Take time to notice. Simply notice and observe.
Ask questions. Don’t be attached to answers.
Explore what being looks like for you.
and…create time for the best medicine possible – Mother Nature.