Yoga practice for me is about surrender, presence and an ‘everything is as it is’ approach. Surrendering any idea that we have to go somewhere, achieve something or reach any point of perfection in our practice can be very liberating. The ‘practice of surrender’ in yoga may then support living life with a renewed sense of ease and flow.
Life is happening now and the invitation to arrive in the present moment is there for us to receive in every breath. Practice could be about a returning home to what is already there. What is underneath the complexities and tides of life is us, our wholeness, body, breath, thoughts, feelings and intuition. An exhale in celebration of life ‘as it is’, moment to moment.
Cultivating a playful curiosity, responsiveness, sensitivity, a listening awareness can support a deep unravelling of what is held fixed or tired. This is my daily practice, for which I am always fascinated, refreshed and grateful for.
For some years I practiced what I call ‘achievement yoga’. I practiced for many hours a day, pushing to attain complicated postures, wanting to be ‘good at yoga’. I indulged in high sensation and as a result was constantly in some form of pain or tiredness.
I had started studying Ayurveda during this time and my Ayurvedic doctor suggested I reduce my practice to one hour a day and not practice so strenuously. I had also started studying with my current teacher and mentor Donna Farhi who attuned me into practice that is nourishing, embodied and steeped in kindness, kindness to myself, to all of my body systems, to all of my cells.
Steadily my practice quietened, slowed and I felt I started truly ‘tuning in’, turning down the volume of muscles and bones, of ‘doing yoga’, of wilful striving. Somewhere through the process I felt like I retired, surrendered, and in that surrender time and space then opened out to begin again, or grow up, or is it putting roots down…I have become more like a tree in any case.
THIS NEW DAY
I have the complete joy of welcoming a new group of yoga beginners every 10 weeks or so. What to say to the tentative faces that come through the door? This week: “Welcome, thank you for being here. We begin with the practice of arriving, surrendering effort and easeful breathing. We may explore movement beyond that, but for now arrive in this moment…Moments woven together with the thread of your breath…Your breath ‘is as it is…’