Wednesday, April 2, 2014

An Idealist's Point of View: Waiting for Optimum





 As an Idealist, I can often see the optimum. And since I try to make the most of all my opportunities, I often will wriggle around, to reach for my best.  My practice of yoga reflects this.. When we move from pose to pose, I like to take the time to settle into the pose, wriggle my hips or my shoulders, or my head or hips into as optimum of a position as I can. Partly, because I think in geometry, and partly because as a therapeutic measure, I know there is an ideal version of the pose that will suit my individual need within that pose. A version that will help me release more, will offer me comfort, and most importantly, will encourage my awareness and presence. I decided a while back, after realizing how good the practice was for me, that I was in it for the long haul, and for me, this means being thoughtful in my movements.  It's how I honor myself, and the expression of the divine through me.


Inspired by Tao Porchon Lynch, the 95 year old Yoga teacher who has been named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Oldest living Yoga teacher, I am encouraged, to try new poses, and believe in myself.  Her mantra is, "There is nothing You can't do."  

Recently, I tried a new form of yoga at a new fitness studio called Purenergy. It's called Aerial Yoga. It's just what it sounds like, Yoga poses suspended in the air, from a hammock like swing, made of a silk -like material. Both deeply relaxing, and seemingly deeply daring, Aerial Yoga challenges you in different ways. In the relaxation poses, the silks are fully spread out beneath you and surround you fully, either cocooning you in an upright sitting position, or completely enveloping you in a supine position. These challenges exist in yoga positions on the floor as well. Restorative Yoga is a similar feeling, where the use of props allows you to relax deeply into the pose. Letting go, and allowing the floor to support us fully, without holding back can be one of the most challenging poses of all. In the air, there is a certain weightlessness that is apparent, in allowing your body to be fully heavy and the freedom that can be gained from it, enlightening. 

And then there's the daring poses: upside down poses, where your feet are reaching for the ceiling and your shoulders are held in the shawl-like embrace of the hammock silk, legs wrapped around each side of the silk, neck and head reaching towards the floor. As I try to get my ankles and legs in an optimum position tho, intuiting the intention of the pose, I notice something. In reaching for the ideal, I may be missing an opportunity. An opportunity to  practice it, even when the conditions aren't optimum.

Waiting for all the stars to align, I may miss an opportunity to experience the sky as it is.

 It's another thing I became aware of through the practice of yoga. 

I could never have let go of 
as much as I'd held,
 if I hadn't become aware I was holding it.

And as our awareness deepens and we notice more, we have a another ideal to reach for. We can label it as one thing or another, or acknowledge it and get back to being present. There's another pose to experience, like another cloud that passes, and as subtle as that movement might be, the more present I am, the more I appreciate it. 

As an Idealist, I can often see the optimum. And since I try to make the most of all my opportunities, I may reach for it. But there is a certain weightlessness that is apparent, in allowing your body to be fully heavy and the freedom that can be gained from it, enlightening, when you notice it then move on.

                             Next up: Yoga on a paddle Board. Yes, floating on the water.

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