Having a bit of anxiety or excitement as we enter September? Perhaps a combination of dread and relief, or some sense of loss as we leave summer and move forward – back to ‘real life’. Childhood memories of a new school year never quite leave us, right?
As someone who was extremely shy, my life was in constant negotiations with my insecurities. New beginnings were not something I looked forward to. New beginnings were accompanied with heart palpitations, losing connection to breath, and even shaking. My chosen profession involved performing and teaching – and each class, each performance was a new beginning that I battled – forcing myself to face overwhelming inner duress, inherent in my personality.
It was not fun. And my yoga did not particularly address these issues – at least not for many years.
Having a body that was flexible and strong, I received a lot of praise for being “good” at poses. I made the mistake of looking for my sense of reward coming from the outside. The yoga I practiced (like most yoga at the time and even now) emphasized the physical aspect. Along the way, I got really good at ignoring warning signals of excessive tension because I was more concerned with ‘the look’. I thought hurting was a normal part of a strong yoga practice.
Then a new beginning appeared.
My husband, interested in yoga as taught by TKV Desikachar*, signed us up for a 6 hour workshop with one of his senior teachers. Well, that encounter changed my life, my yoga practice and the way I teach. The 5 years I spent studying and working with Leslie Kaminoff revealed the incredibly rich, vast scope of yoga, far beyond the practice of poses – in particular, I learned to question my habits and ingrained behaviors.
It was a new beginning that I am grateful for every single day of my life!
Because now, I’ve learned that I can ‘trust the magic of beginnings’ ; I’ve learned that my efforts have the support of an intimate connection to Breath, to Life Force; that new beginnings can come with more curiosity than trepidation, more joy than fear.
And yes, occasionally something provokes me and my body does a quick shake, rattle and roll. But yoga and deep connection to breath now has the greater influence to push me back towards balance and connection. And that is a good thing!
Much love to each of you, Patty
PS On what yoga can NOT do:
‘Yoga cannot guarantee us this or that particular benefit if we practice diligently. Yoga is not a recipe for less suffering, though it can offer us help in changing our attitude so that we have less avidya (false understanding) and therefore greater freedom from duhkha (discomfort, pain). We can understand the whole practice of yoga as a process of examining our habitual attitudes and behaviors and their consequences.’
from The Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar.