Life is like the ocean. There are calm days and rocky ones and all types in between. When our “ocean conditions” are rough we can get swept up in the turmoil on the surface or we can make the choice to go deeper. Two quotes together inspired my message last week. “In quietness and calmness is our strength” and “Calm waters run deep”. When we only focus on the surface turmoil, we live a “shallow” life. If we delve deeper we can go where the calmness and strength reside.
On the mat last week, we set the intention to connect to the quiet deep waters regardless of what was happening at the “surface” in our bodies. Suynamaskara A felt like calm familiar seas; safe and comfortable. Then as we swept arms up and down in high lunge and the intensity began to build, we channeled the calm, quiet strength within. No matter what the pose, how challenging, the practice was to connect to the still waters below the surface. We used Star Gazer pose with a flow into Side plank several times to simulate rougher seas as we continued to practice calmness of the breath and mind. When we felt the “surface conditions” begin to penetrate, we took a rest, to again connect to what the true practice was.
On the mat we practice, off the mat we live. Our practice of connecting to the calmer waters within ourselves, (no matter what we were working on in our bodies) was in preparation to live our Yoga off the mat. As humans we can expect to spend some time on the surface handling whatever conditions exist but as we practice; it can become easier to access our calm inner strength and to more often live a “deeper” life. The breath can be our guide on and off the mat as it navigates us through the rough seas with a calmness and consistency that can serve us any time. I often find myself exhaling with a hissing sound in my throat (Ujjayi breath) to help me connect to my “deeper” waters. It is a gift to be able to live in a place below the surface sometimes.
Back on the mat, we noticed that sometimes it can be harder to stay in the calm deeper space once the body is at rest. Savasana is the ultimate test of this practice; with nothing to distract us from the deeper mind, can we stay calm and focused? Can we access our inner strength or does the clutter and rough water at the surface prevail? I reminded my students that “Calm waters run deep” and that “In quietness and calmness is our strength”. What we practice on the mat, becomes our life off the mat. We get to make the choice; do we stay at the surface or do we go DEEP. Namaste.