Are you all in??
Tom* was mid-30’s, muscular in an athletic kind of way, average height. He’s leading us through a yoga class in his usual mellow monotone way. He’s calm, unhurried, and low on details. It helps me tune into feeling my body, focused and in the super-chill yoga zone.
We’re sitting on our mats in a straddle. “Bend your knees some, slide your arms underneath. Straighten your legs and lie your chest on the floor."
I burst out laughing and looked to the side. He can’t be serious? That’s not really possible, right?
Except what I saw was everyone else still in super-chill yoga zone doing some version of the pose. Oh. I guess it is a thing…for them.
Reed’s class. Supta Virasana. Everyone’s butt is on the floor between their feet. Everyone is lying back, blissful. But not me. I’m sitting on a blanket sure my knees will explode if I sit on the floor, leaning back a little.
I look to the side. And notice something. Everyone who’s in is in. Like all in. Absorbed, focused and in the yoga zone.
And I realize, when I’m all in, absorbed, focused and in the yoga zone I don’t look to the side. And I bet in some of those moments another yogi may be looking to the side at me and thinking, “Is that even a thing? Maybe it is….for her.” Or whatever thoughts spring up for them.
The Yoga Sutras teach us that effort toward steadiness of mind is practice. The asanas, the poses and movement, are tools we can use to learn that skill. To be all in. To stay in the yoga zone.
One thing I’ve learned for sure in 20 years and thousands of classes is that yoga is so much more satisfying when I’m all in regardless of what’s happening on the outside.
The willingness to stay in when I’m wobbly, when I need child’s pose and not a vinyasa, when I’m not with the rest of the group, when I’m in my experience fully, by the end of class I have that “Yes! Yoga is sooooo good!” feeling. Because by being all in rather than pulling back, resisting and looking to the side, I give my body the time it needs to grow and expand.
How we are on our mat is a reflection of how we are in life. When things come up that might pull out of the zone – divorce, job loss, illness, arguments, status updates, push notifications, the feeling like “there has to be more to life than this”, not being with the rest of the group (whatever that is) – rather than look to the side can we go all in? Can we be fully bored, frustrated, broke, scared, wobbly, unsteady, imperfect? Knowing that every time we ride through those patches we ultimately grow and expand, finding new ways to be satisfied and fulfilled in life.
Because we all have blissful poses and ones we can’t even wrap our brains around. Because we all have super awesome patches of life and rough patches that throw us off.
Who’s with me? Let’s go all in! To our yoga practices and to our lives. Because growth and expansion feel soooooo good.
*Not their real names.
If you enjoyed or were inspired by what you read, please comment below, Like, Share, Pin and Tweet. With Gratitude, Cathy MA Ed., E-RYT500