So, as I start writing this next blog, two words spring to mind; ‘incubation’ and ‘transformation’.
Having always been a deep thinker (which I inherited, inadvertently, from my hard-working father of Yorkshire wisdom), it comes with clear delivery, that, waiting for things to happen, could leave us waiting until we die. One infamous quote in ‘Shawshank Redemption,’ which is a movie made in 1994, about a banker (Andy Dufresne), who is wrongly incarcerated for a life sentence. Andy decides to use his prison time to plan the most unbelievable and incomprehensible escape. The quote that he drew from his ordeal, was, ‘get busy living or get busy dying.’
No matter how we decide to ‘escape’, the crucial, and little time we have, to ‘live’ as humans, is defined by our will to transform. We can easily morph into our surrounds, weld ourselves to the chains of disdain, even wallow in the mud of unclear waters, or, we can transform.
Shawshank Andy did wallow in mud (and worse), and I’m not suggesting we do that, but, allowing ourselves to thwart a new and challenging mantle is, to, undoubtedly, ‘get busy dying.’ So how do we define transformation or incubation? Do we implement change? Or do we keep taking a vacation from each challenge that we continually conquer? It would be like continually getting sentenced to life at Shawshank and proceeding to plan another escape! Madness!
So, the transformation really does begin within ourselves, the environment that we allow to ourselves to enjoy or not enjoy. Up until aged 5 years old, both my sons were Montessori pre-schoolers, and one of the key things about Ms Montessori’s Method, was developing a child’s own initiative and natural ability, especially through play. Young children could develop, using their instincts and senses, allowing a pathway of creativity and reasoning. I use this pedagogy within my
Yoga classes, as transformation begins by turning up to class and connecting to the Self. We don’t need to be sentenced to life, but we do need to be connected to life.
The simple things that we have available to us, our five senses, and the five elements that we can connect into are completely abundant and completely free of charge. Air, fire, water, earth and space, however, making space to connect to these elements is crucial. Every day we are surrounded by news talk, social media, advertising and advice. We engage, we read, and we discuss whatever we find, yet we still can’t find the Self. That internal dialogue that tells us to ‘do it
tomorrow’ begins to dampen the senses.
So, to those who, perpetually, return to their self -formed habits of denying themselves a life, why not do something that makes you screw up your nose, do something that startles you, do something that makes you lose time. Be present and wait for the silence, it is distilled by connecting to the Self.
When we sit, lie or kneel in a space of silence, it connects the breath to the mind and the mind to the breath, there is a muted conversation, an exclusive period of oneness, where air reaches into the skin and the skin reaches for the air. There is an adhesive skin contact to the earth and an earthly submission felt on the surface of the skin, and as we allow the feeling to pervade beyond the skin, that feeling ignites the fire within our soul. This fire is the flame of compassion, sensuality, love and gratitude. These are feelings that can remain within us, each time we sit, kneel or lie down with our senses fully awake. Awakening the senses is only the beginning of our transformation of life to the Self and Self to life.
One of my favourite verses (BG 6.20) from the auspicious Bhagavad Gita, reads ‘Yoga is the journey of the Self, through the Self, to the Self,’ which is profoundly accurate. We can persistently skim the
surface of our life with the odd trip to the stunning beaches of Spain, or maybe the occasional piece of delicious chocolate to whet our taste buds, and an odd massage thrown in to soften our weary skin. But, these are meagre nuggets of gold when it comes to transformation. They help, but they can’t re- route, reboot and reform the Yogic Self, for that, we have to show up on the mat with no suntan, no sugar highs and be body-tired and sore to the bone.
Yoga has no identity, it has no face, no badge. It welcomes all, like an old auntie, who has lit the log-fire, boiled the kettle and sits patiently knitting, whilst you natter, until you run out of words. But, old auntie never runs out of wool, she just remains a constant companion, a constant entity of love and unwavering support. That is Yoga, a constant, unwavering companion, that waits for you, no matter what you did or said. What matters is that you are welcomed.
Sometimes, I do run out of words, sometimes I do run out of ideas for sequencing, and sometimes I roll out my Yoga mat, and just wait. No expectation, no needs or wants. It takes a craving to show up, but to just sit with no expectation and not speak, that can feel like an empty cave. But, there in that cave, is silence, with the presence of only a very faint echo, that echo is the sound of your breath, the gentle rhythm of your heart and the sensation of space around you, as your senses
awaken to feel into your Self. This is where the journey
of Yoga really begins………..