Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Just Write: Yoga and How Do You Take Up Space?

I have been intensely pensive lately. Probably too much so, if truth be told.

I derive questions, mostly about life, from a few sources.
One such place is yoga. That is, yoga taught by an intelligent, and thought provoking teacher.

Okay, okay! Some of you may think a yogi’s verbiage is a bunch of cheesy crap, and that their soothing, whisper-like intonation is fake. Depending on the teacher, or my mood, it can be. Distracts me, too.

Not today, though.

Anna, yogi extraordinaire and former professional ballet dancer, provided background as to why the postures, sequences and flow, would be just so, explaining her planning usually has something  to do with what she’s thinking about or struggling with or working on in her own life.

Today’s question: How do you take up space?

She didn’t tell us what to think, or even what she thought except to say she feels her space must be filled with movement. (Hint: This is NOT usually my case.) During our class we moved through several choreographed sequences, repeating each and every one at least three times to settle in, and get a rhythm She posed questions like: Is your space being filled by thoughts or movement? Are you constantly making small adjustments or are you static? Are you exploring your depths or resting?

I wasn’t necessarily thinking about my physical space the whole time, though mostly I was in those moments. I was concentrating on what I could physically do. How could I improve this posture? What felt loose? Tight? Strong? Weak?

My consistent goal in yoga is to stay present, in the moment, and prevent the drifting of thoughts to a place off my mat. Push everything out!
There weren’t expectations of answers, or anything, during Lotus pose or Warrior Two or Dancer. At that moment. She set the questions out there for us like “food for thought”, a whisper thought to take home in a doggie bag for later. 

It was an interesting exercise. Letting my mind touch lightly on the questions she posed as my body simultaneously moved through her queues for strenuous postures. The answers came fleetingly like the sweat that ran down my nose then dripped off it’s tip. My mind and body were transitioning from one thought/position to the next. 

I felt strong. I felt challenged. I felt successful. 

In the moment! On the mat. Fully present.

Of course, she was alluding to the bigger picture as well. Maybe even more so. Has to be because we were only in the sweat box for 60 minutes! As I walked home, however, the question marinated, and I started equating “space” with time. My thoughts drifted over to how I spend my time in the space I occupy. 

So how do I fill my space (off the mat)? Well that depends. I alternate between being proudly productive or happily lost in thought or extremely time wasting. With people I love, others I don’t know well, and the occasional stranger.

Who decides what is a “properly” filled space? Do I? Does He? Does someone else like my husband? 

These are just questions. Things I am thinking about today. Things I will probably think about tomorrow too unless I am posited questions from one of my “other” sources. I am all questions it seems with a smaller percentage of answers. But I enjoy thinking too much. Sometimes.

What I do know for sure is that I love yoga because it provides challenge, both mentally and physically. It is stimulating. It creates thinking time on and off the mat. And these things are (not uniquely) important to my well-being*. 

*(Editor’s Note: In an effort to additionally increase my well-being, I am currently ingesting a juice-like beverage I picked up at Whole Foods this morning. It is called Alternative Fuel whose label states, “We squeeze it fresh right in our store. Made With Fresh…celery, broccoli, parsley, cabbage, wheatgrass, lettuce, spinach, kale and cucumber.” To borrow a famous phrase from Lucille Ball, “Tastes just like candy!” YUMMERS!!!)

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