Mindful awareness

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Spring is trying hard to arrive right now. Where I live, some buds are on trees and some perennials are in bloom. But one day seems like spring only for the next day to turn cold again. I keep putting away gloves and hats only to take them back out again the following day. I love springtime so the transition seems like a good one to me. But still, enduring any change requires more effort than the status quo.

Life comes with many transitions, including relocating, entering or exiting relationships, and starting or ending new jobs and life roles. Sometimes people stay in relationships and work settings longer than they know they should if only because the change itself is so challenging.

Yoga has taught me that even through the impermanence of every situation I can find some stability in my breath and in the goodness of each moment. As in life, the transitions in yoga are least balanced. Moving gracefully from one pose to the next requires focused attention and long breaths.

I have worked on transitions this week by linking three standing poses: vrkasana (tree pose) into virabhadrasana 3 (warrior 3 pose) into garudasana (eagle pose). Any one of these poses is demanding so sequencing them together without letting the floating foot touch the ground is even more of a challenge. Still, once I am in any of these standing poses I can settle in and balance. Moving from one to the next is the tricky part. The best way I have found to approach the transitions is to acknowledge that there is something similar in each. I can build on the fact that the pelvis is level and the hip points aligned forward in each of the poses. The standing foot stays in full contact with the ground to provide stability. And my breath is with me always, helping me to focus and remain stable even as I move. I have learned to be graceful in these transitions by letting my breath move me and quiet my mind. I also am comforted in knowing that as much as one pose is different from the other, some components are constant among them.

Tools I have learned on the mat have helped me to endure transitions off the mat with a little more grace and focus. Even as things change, I love and am loved and life generally is very good. Breathing and focusing through it all makes life’s transitions a little easier. So I take another breath and pull out that winter coat again.

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