118: Slow, Still and Steady

yin 1Yin yoga is a series of long held poses, mainly working the hip region that requires three things while practicing; Coming to your edge in the pose, remaining still and a good deal of time ( up to 10 minutes) in each pose. When I teach yin I notice quite often that people don’t have any problem with coming to their edge, they probably even leap off it from time to time but the other two, time and stillness is a more difficult practice.

I’m not sure if you have ever tried to sit still in a position for a while but this is generally what happens. You get comfortable, you feel OK for a couple of minutes and then then the fidgeting starts. Firstly there is the head popping up to  look around, then suddenly your toe nails take on a new depth of fascination and if it all gets too much you might just come out of the pose. All of these things, fidgeting, looking away or around or escaping are signs that you have disconnected from what you are doing. Not only have you disconnected but you have fallen into one of the classic teachings of Buddha which is, we try to repel what we don’t want.

This is the same when we live our life. If something causes us discomfort whether it be a yoga pose or a conversation, a difficult task or a boring friend we respond by distracting ourselves. Distraction is the first sign that you are no longer present, If you are no longer present you have moved into some other time frame, possibly the ‘better’ future where all your good dreams come true. Conversely if we sit still long enough to watch the rise and fall of our desires we can learn something about ourselves and human nature in general.

stillnessWhat we can learn is this;

Space and time are uncomfortable for most people.  But space and time is where we can watch our ‘stuff’ come up and pop. Space and time is where we can look at our issues or questions and get resolutions. Quietness and solitude is the backbone of creativity and intuition. Quietness is when we really begin to listen.

Busyness and distraction are side shows of avoidance. Distraction is a way to numb and quell what we don’t want to look at. Avoidance is the submarine of emotions, carrying the emotions deeper and deeper in the depths or our body and mind.

Practice for today: Can you cultivate the ability to find stillness when challenging thoughts or emotions arrive knocking at your door? Do you tend to bury or distract yourself from difficult situations in your life? How would it be for you today to sit in one yin pose for five minutes to watch your question or problem with stillness and steadiness of the body and mind?

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