A friend posted this amazing photo of a tree in “Dancers Pose” and underneath was the caption “Grow with the Flow”. To her it was an ode to Spring which is popping up all around us but that mantra became more to me this past week as I realized the different ways to interpret this powerful message.
As we began on our mats, I asked the students to think of the practice of Yoga as a tree with different branches that grow from a stable, grounded trunk. Those branches represent the many ways we “Grow with our Flow”. As we began with Bridge pose and Navasana (boat pose), the body began to warm and energy started to flow which allowed the muscles to loosen and lengthen…they were “growing with the flow”.
We moved from there into our opening Sun Salutations as we have done so many times before and I reminded them to notice the strength or space in their bodies…this comes with the growth of the asana practice over time. As we practice our physical asanas our bodies get stronger and more flexible; we are able to do more…we have “grown with our flow”.
As we went deeper into our practice and explored binding, I asked my students to connect to “growing with their flow” in a more challenging way…to practice becoming less attached to the achievement of the physical asana and turn to acceptance instead. I asked them to remember that the real growth comes from being mindful on the journey and surrendering the destination.
We practiced smoothly transitioning from Eagle pose into Warrior 3 with Eagle arms and then into Standing split with the arms still wrapped. The practice of smoothly transitioning through points of discomfort…both on the mat and off… is truly “Growing with the Flow”. We then explored Vrksasna (tree pose) and moved from there into Dancers as an ode to my inspiration this week. Cultivating balance through strong roots and flexibility is another powerful way to “grow with the flow”
Someone I have known for a very long time, who is brand new to yoga, asked me recently how Yoga has changed me. To answer her took some reflection on my part. Yoga has touched almost every part of who I am as I have “grown with my flow” over the past 15 years. I found strength and length in my body of course however, more importantly I have moved from a place of needing to achieve physical poses to a place of gratitude and respect for what my body can do and acceptance of what is not available. I have found the gift of nurturing myself and surrendering judgement (most of the time). I live more mindfully and presently and with more balance and stability on and off my mat. I allow my conscience to guide my actions. To quote the sage Vasistha; “There is no power on earth greater than the right action in the present moment”. I have “grown in my flow” by learning that the Journey is the Joy, to Grow is to be Present and to be Present is a precious Gift.
We slowed the practice with gentle back bending and supine spinal twists and from there transitioned into the final rest. I reminded them again of the many ways we can “Grow with our Flow”. The physical growth of lengthening, strengthening and lightening our bodies is just the surface of the growth and from there we learn how to go deeper, to grow as people. Through mindfulness we can find balance and connect to acceptance and joy within ourselves that we then can share with the world. In order to grow, we need to rest, nurture and restore the mind as well as the body. Being mindful in stillness is when the most powerful growth can happen.
As we came together in a final moment of meditation to close out our practice, I felt such gratitude to my students. I thanked them for the opportunity they provide me to “Grow with my Flow” as a teacher each and every day. Namaste.