Last week, my daughter, daughter in law and granddaughter (who I will lovingly refer to as YD), joined me at Family Yoga Night. It was taught at Om Ananda Yoga by a brilliant Yogi, Andrea who exuberates an astonishing amount of grace towards young children. Well, I must be honest – YD was the only young child present.
I have been teaching my granddaughter Yoga since she was two. She is now nearing the wise old age of five. Recently, YD started taking Kids Yoga with Andrea. So they know each other well. Something else my granddaughter knows; the poses she likes and dislikes.
Every time Andrea would call out a pose that little miss YD did not like, she would promptly announce “No, I don’t like this pose!” Then she would roll up into her mat like a burrito until another pose that she liked was called.
This was quite entertaining to everyone attending. Humorous, yes…Honest is a better description.
How many times have I tried to avoid a pose I didn’t like? I am much too tired to try to count. We adults have to be creative when avoiding something we don’t like on the mat. “Oh, I think my hamstrings are a little tight, I might need to just rest in child’s pose during this asana…”
Oh and we humans are especially skilled at carrying this thought pattern off the mat. How many times have we had a “throat-thing” that kept us from meeting up with people we weren’t very well interested in hanging with in the first place? Having experienced chronic illness, I utterly identify.
While I was in the throes of Gastroparesis, I had to constantly check myself. “Am I really sick or am I using this illness to help me avoid a commitment?” It was a fair question. I had learned to function at a pain level of 8. This could be draining on the energy so at times, it was best to just stay in and rest. Other times, I needed to suit up and show up.
I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. – Ecclesiastes 9:11
Nico Luce said during one of his teachings, something to the affect of “You don’t have to like the pose, just accept it knowing that this too shall pass”. There was probably no better time for me to hear this. Suffering through another GP flare up, I realized I could just accept it without liking it and that it would be over soon enough. This seemed more beneficial than the tantrum I customarily threw at the onset of the painful gale offered up by Gastroparesis.
Nico also taught about the Nataraja, The Dancing Shiva. Shiva stands in a ring of fire. But he is not standing, he is dancing. He has one foot standing on his foe, a troll. It is said that Shiva was battling this troll and every time he struck the troll, the troll’s blood drops created more trolls to battle.
This is emblematic of life’s many struggles – when we clash with them violently, we tend to make them worse. So instead of striking his enemy, the Shiva learned to move with the dance of life. Aikido teaches a similar philosophy; when an attacker moves in, step aside and give him a little help with his momentum – no need to even strike your opponent. I once saw a body-sized dent in a wall after such a demonstration!
Throughout the following year, my theme song became “Don’t fight it”. I applied this to the various aspects of my life; when the vacuum cleaner got jammed up, when my dog had a cancer scare, when my son ended up in the hospital; every time I got sick I would just say “Don’t fight it. Accept it. This too shall pass.” Again, I didn’t have to like it. But I had learned to suit up and show up and to dance with this so called life!
“ But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corithians 12:9
Today will you roll up into your mat and hide, fight your battles violently or suit up and show up for life and enjoy the dance?
Stay Blissful My Friends – E