I went to hot yoga today. My left leg was pushed forward into a pose called lizard. My right leg extended back on the floor. My elbows reached precariously for the mat beneath me. Every part of my hips felt resistance. It’s a difficult posture, but one that I love because it works deep into the foundation of my body. It’s a Yin pose, designed to be held longer than traditional yoga asanas. While pressing into the position, I found grit. Determination. Strength. Any true yogi will tell you yoga parallels life. We discover the forgotten corners of our bodies. We connect with the spaciousness of our minds. We move quickly through Yang practices with heavy breaths and sweat. It feels like life in America. Rushing through sun salutations and warrior postures in a nation that is in a constant battle with itself. In Yin, we slow down. We pause and notice things: our breath, the four corners of our feet, the way we feel when we rest our middle forehead on the yoga mat. It feels like the cultures America forgot – indigenous and wise. When our gears come to a halt, there is depth.
Sometimes my thoughts go deep. I may remember something I forgot, have an aha! moment or find a solution to something that’s been on my mind. Sometimes the depth is in my body. I may feel a physical release or uncover a new knowing about the mechanics of this body I’ve been inhabiting for over fifty years.
It’s always that way. When we slow down, we can go deeper.
We can see more, whether we are looking outward or inward.
I led a hike through a lush forest a few weeks ago. When we reached the summit, I led the group in meditation. I explained it’s possible to walk or run through the entire trail system without ever noticing the trees or the way the sun peeks through the space between leaves. Without hearing the song of the birds or the cicadas. Without feeling the gentle caress of the breeze as it whispers past your cheek. We can hike an entire mountain without noticing the rocks. We can sail an entire ocean without acknowledging the fish. We can trek across a foreign land without respecting its people.
It takes work to be open and present, so why should we bother? Why not live our lives in a rush, running toward what’s good, better or best? On a quest for the most prestigious job, devoted relationship, lavish house, or brilliant children. Perhaps what we’re looking for is with us all the time like the red shoes at the end of The Wizard of Oz that so easily brought Dorothy home. It’s in every dewy blade of grass. Every ripe apple or slice of watermelon. Every sunrise and wisp of cloud. Every gentle gaze and caress. Perhaps if we slowed down long enough to recognize the miracle of the moment, we would find that we already have what we seek.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. The photo is me in lizard pose on my patio. If you’re interested in finding depth in your own body or mind, check out my Fall Retreat Series. Details at https://honeybutterflyz.com/events. If you’re interested in easily accessible ways to slow down and expand upon your moments, try my meditation or yoga nidra practices. You can access here: https://honeybutterflyz.com/free-downloads