Often i see students enter a posture and experience aversion, discomfort, intensity. My personal practice demonstrates this too me as well. Especially when the body is tight or entering a deep posture. Its Natural that we feel this intensity and want to run away, or give up, or blast through it. The nervous systems programmed responses are for fight or flight. To push or to give up.
We might flight in Paschimottanasana by distracting ourselves with thoughts, by looking around the room, by exiting the posture with a huff, by complaining that its not a good idea.
We might fight in Paschimottanasana by tightening our grip, telling our mind off for not being empty, by berating ourselves for our stiff hamstrings and bad posture, by ignoring the bodies discomfort and shoving the legs into the shape we want them to be in irrelevant of there needs.
these 2 options fight or flight. Are so much easier than to simply accept and stay. Partly because it is not s built in automatic response so we have to actively choose this response. This requires awareness and will.
The capacity to Just Stay is what the Yoga Asana and self awareness practice invites of us. Yoga invites us not to fight and battle our nature. Not tell off or discipline our mind, body, heart, subconscious, attentiveness. Not to give up each time an obstacle arises and change to an easier practice. Not to simply scream mantras internally so loud that they block everything else out. No. Yoga says Don’t fight, Don’t Flee. Just Stay, HERE, in each passing moment, with each passing feeling and thought and sensation. It’s and invitation to sit and face our-self. To see our-self. In all our beauty and all our challenge.
This modern Tosh about always being Happy is ridiculous. And its is an unexamined assumption that puts an undue strain of expectation on us. Making it a bigger failure when we are not Happy all the time. We are not here on earth to simply feel all the good, happy and pleasurable things. And anyone brave enough to face life and them-self knows, that, at times, life is a hard struggle. Inside and out. Individually and with all our relations.
And like a healthy long lasting relationship with another, our relationship to our-self is fraught with hard times. If in your intimate relationship, every time the going gets tough you decided to either fight or flee the relationship would fall apart. I can call on many moments in my beautiful relationship with my partner where i have been at the end of the cliff, emotional, confused and feeling the weight of all our stuff. And in that moment, like in a difficult Asana or Self realisation I say to my self
“it’s Hard, I’m Struggling And I’m Staying”
Doing this is an act of accepting, allowing and committing. And it is what the Yoga Path asks of us. How ever we are, what ever we bring, is our opportunity, our invitation for creation. If we can Accept it as it is, Allow ourselves to feel this acceptance, and commit to staying with it.
So when the going get tough on and off the mat. Try this for yourself:
“Don’t Fight, Don’t Run, Just Stay”
“It’s hard, I’m struggling, I’m staying”
Copyright © Alex Hanly 2007-2015