Fall is upon us. Kids are going back to school. The weather is changing. It is a familiar time of transition.
Yesterday in yoga class our teacher also spoke of transition. She asked us to be mindful of how we moved from pose to pose. Did we take our time and breathe and go at our bodies pace or did we rush? How could we take that same awareness out of the classroom and into our own lives?
I tucked the thought inside and went about the class, moving from pose to pose, with only fleeting awareness. Until I noticed the older man next to me struggling. I had heard his heavy, labored breathing many times throughout the class but hadn’t paid much attention to it. It wasn’t until we were in pigeon pose – a challenging pose where you place one leg behind you, flat on the ground and the other leg is also on the ground, in front of your body, with the knee pointed forward and the leg bent with the foot inwards towards your groin. Our teacher added to this pose, asking us to place one hand on the ground and threading the other arm underneath the placed hand, resulting in the threaded arm’s shoulder being on the ground. Confused?
This is a hip opening pose and I have very tight hips so I grabbed a block to assist me since I wasn’t able to make the pose happen on my own. As I was lying there panting, I noticed the man next to me doing everything he could to follow the steps of the pose & push himself to achieve a version of the pose. But in his effort to make it happen, he was struggling intensely, breathing hard, and sweating profusely. His body was contorted in a very unnatural way and not the way the pose was intended. He looked miserable. He looked pained. I thought to myself, He looks like he’s going to hurt himself. Why doesn’t the teacher help him? She seemed to hear me and went to him, bringing a block. She placed it under his hip and tried to square his hips to the ground. She acknowledged he was very tight and rubbed his low back, being very gentle and nurturing with him.
We all have lots of teachers in our lives. Mine that day was the man next to me in yoga. There are many ways in my life were I push myself from one transition to the next with little thought. Or, I force myself to manage a situation without a little help. I realized that this man was a beautiful mirror for me that day and a reminder to pay attention to life’s transitions. He reminded me to go slowly and to take baby steps until I was ready. To not push myself to the point of sacrificing breath or life. To appreciate where I am today, knowing that the end result will happen at the right time. Reminding me that where I am today is perfect, and there is growth and healing in today. That today is enough.
Go slowly this week as life transitions. Notice the in-betweens during the milestones. Pay attention to the little changes. Be gentle with yourself as you adjust to this new place.