For most of us when we look back on our lives we look at the mile stones. The day we were born, learned new skills, won the big game, graduations, marriage, when we had babies, etc. But most of life happens in the in between moments. The wedding day is important. But the marriage happens after the big day. Sometimes we see these times as transitions because we are in between two big things. Other times, life seems boring or even monotonous. It is the moments between where life truly happens. Losing a job is a milestone. How we deal with the loss is the transition. We can be numb to life, challenged in these times, or even feel like we are being pushed to our very limits. It is times like these that we find our strength and grow into an even better version of ourselves.
Our yoga asana practice mimics this phenomenon. When someone asks you about your class you mention the highlights, the great neck stretches, sun salutations, triangle series, oh and pigeon. We rarely recount how we moved with grace and ease from one pose to the other in transition. The movements between poses don’t tend to take our breath away and stand out as something big and great. But, here to, we must look beyond the first appearance and see that these transitions teach us much about ourselves. Falling out of tree pose is memorable. What do you do once you’ve fallen? Beat yourself up on the inside, give up all together, or go back into it with a smile?
Observe the times in between in your yoga practice. Do you tend to move through the transitions mindlessly? Perhaps you hold your breath as you move from one pose to the next, or you breathe more fully here than when you were in the pose. It is the movement between that can either heal and help us grow or we can succumb to the challenges and find irritation in the mind or body or worse yet, injury. Within our yoga practice, the transitions are the times when most injuries occur. The mind will either move with the movement and we lose focus or we will remain in the flow: body, mind and spirit.
I ask that you watch your mind and body in your next few yoga classes to see where you are at when you are moving through transitions. Physically we your body is on the mat. But, what is your mind doing? How does your body feel? Do any emotions arise that you either honor or repress? What is going on for you in the moments between the poses? And if you are willing to contemplate the idea, you may see that your yoga practice mirrors your life. Get beyond focusing on just the big things and find your peace and happiness in the present within all movements, with each breath and each movement.
Enjoy the times in between.
Founder of Maitri Yoga Centers