Let The Practice Be The Guide

Practicing and teaching I’ve experienced resistance  on various levels in myself and have observed it in the students I assist on a daily basis. Sometimes the resistance we face comes across quite clear as it screams at us for attention. Other times it sneaks up without a warning dressed in disguise. Resistance. It’s always around lurking. I’ve been fascinated with the topic in that I’ve felt it on a personal level over the past six months. It seems to run in cycles often making itself known more prominently at certain times than others. What I have found is acknowledging its presence no matter how much you wish it wasn’t there, even in the mist of feeling to simply show up takes every bit of energy you have, there is an opportunity for growth in the struggle. Afterward, when the clouds have cleared usually on the other side of it a wellspring of growth and expansion awaits.

Allowing what is to be is one of the most arduous of internal practices we face on and off the mat. Because after we have experienced our honeymoon period from attaining the “goodies” of yoga practice have worn off some of the most extensive work is about to begin. This is the yoga. The goodies only give a small taste of the true experience. A fractional glimpse into the eye of the proverbial storm, but we have to go through the storm at some point and resistance is part of that storm.

Not all situations will be ideal. There will be days our bodies will feel stiff, and our minds will  feel as if it sits within the depths of hell. In turn we may experience apathy and boredom as we are seduced by our expectations of how things should be. Of course, this is the play of the mind and the craving of the ego. There is really is no need to judge when resistance crops up because it is inevitable. However, what will we put in its place? A question worth contemplating.

I know for me the practice has evolved and changed over the years. In the beginning there was an abundance of excitement and enthusiasm. Everything felt new and every challenge was something that motivated me to tread forward. I still feel this to some extent but more and more the focus rests in the quiet unchanging part of myself because after while the realization that the body is in a constant state of flux and ultimately impermanent is experienced. Change is always happening and acknowledgement of that makes the ride all the more graceful. The important thing to remember is the effort and steadfastness we put forth to practice as we rest in this quiet space of awareness is more important then any of the postural goodies we can acquire. Even in the mist of injury, apathy, boredom, fatigue, and depression, all these struggles must be faced head on and there is really no need to wish it were different. Everything in time passes. Grace happens when we let go of the need for it to be any other way.

As a teacher it can be one of the most honest discussions I can have with a student. No, it won’t always be easy, and no it won’t always be fun, but I will tell you, it will be worth it.