Flowing

17.8.09

There are also sorts of experiences that we can’t really put a name to. The birth of a child, for one. Or the death of a parent. Falling in love. Words are like nets - we hope they’ll cover what we mean, but we know they can’t possibly hold that much joy, or grief, or wonder. Finding God is like that too. If it’s happened to you, you know what it feels like. But try to describe it to someone else - and language only takes you so far.

(Jodie Picoult)

In the last several days it's been hot in C-bus. Although, after surviving summers in Taiwan and Thailand, hot is a relative term. In other words, hot in Columbus is nothing like enduring the heat in the Asian tropics. Nothing. I quickly learned how to cope with being in a perpetual state of perspiration in those places.

Obviously, I love being near sand and surf. There's something about salt water, and the stoke, that makes me come alive. I enjoy it. But also, I crave the diversity of the cool, hence I'll be moving to Sweden. Interesting that some of the happiest places on earth coincide with cooler climates. Not sure what that's all about. However, I must reiterate that Sweden does have all four seasons, Winter (of course, it's up north), Spring, Summer (yes, it does get warm) and Fall, and no, there are no polar bears hanging around just for kicks.

With the last several days being increasingly hot, and humid, morning practices have been juicy. Yes, juicy. A twinge of humidity, mixed with heat, and a dash of juicy, admittedly, are more conducive for the practice, especially with back bending. It's interesting how we not only have the changes of our bodies to contend with, but also how our bodies react to the changes in climate - another great exercise in shifting the focus to our awareness within the variances.

With all that being said, I've enjoyed the bit of teaching I've been doing while waiting to hear from the Swedish Migration Board, and I've learned that one of the key elements when teaching Ashtanga yoga is in assisting the student/practitioner with finding their flow. Connecting every movement with conscious breath, touching the spark of pratyahara (sense withdrawl), in turn, help to access Grace - breath, bandhas, driste. As we connect inward and through, we join to something greater. Goes in line with the following excerpt from The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner, which struck me.

These are classic signes of flow, as defined by Miháy Csíkszentmihalyi. The line between the actor and the act blurs and, in some cases, disappears entirely. There is no dancer. There is only dancing. Flow is not the same as happiness. In fact, when we interrupt flow to take stock of our happiness, we lose both.

Again, these states of Grace, or Flow, are hard to define, nor should they be. Only felt, it's a mysterious place, it's an intimate experience. Once we feel we need to grasp, or filter what yoga is through the mind, something becomes lost. That is why some of our greatest teachers don't have much to say, we must do the practice to understand, and even within the understanding we still don't know, not in our minds, but our hearts do, and that's where our spirits begin to soar, and what a beautiful thing it is. For IT just IS. We all have it, we're all connected to it.


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