Back, Not Backwards


"When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly."

(Edward Teller)

This week's practice has been interesting getting back into 3rd Series. Several years ago I set Advanced A aside when making my first trip to Mysore, India in the summer of 2007. As most of you know, now matter how long you've practiced previously you start from day one once entering KPJAYI. It's the way it is. I've never had a problem with it. If anything, I felt like it made sense. I took the attitude in there being no harm in deepening my already established Primary Series practice. And boy did I. Deep. deep. deep.

From what I was told I was moved through fairly quickly and was soon split into Second Series my first trip. So, after leaving Mysore I decided to stick with Second Series, and continue the process from KPJAYI. Then, on my second trip, a year ago, I continued with Intermediate, just about finishing, but no quite. Then for the remainder of the year I continued on with only Intermediate, and of course Primary once a week.

During the course of the last several years it's been an enlightening experience, to set aside any form of ambition, be where I am, deepening even further. In many ways, it was like starting over. Which is familiar territory dedicating to life long practice. There are plateaus. There are peaks. There are valleys. Sometimes there are even walls! When we find we've come full circle, an ending, we soon find a new beginning.

What I've found in deepening the previous sequences is it directly improved my 3rd Series asanas without having to practice them. For example, before, I always struggled with Eka pada bakasana. To now, just recently, being able to lift up into it with ease. Which never happened several years ago. Setting it aside seemed to be the best thing, in a sense. Going back, not backwards.

When Pattabhi Jois stated, "practice and all is coming," I see how in many ways everything is already here. No matter what stage in the game we are in, if there's a beginning, middle and end to every movement, to every breath, to every posture, a door opens, and we enter into presence.

Yes. I can skim the surface and go far, but have I realized a deep sense of intimacy with the power of being?

In the quietness of movement and breath, it felt like time to move forward. And the sense to move forward, taught me nothing was ever lost.

I'm opening to new places. Expanding. Learning there is never a destination to attain, only a discovery to take place. Fully committing to the process, intentionally, has been integral. I've learned that in letting go to each step, versus where I thought I needed to be, gave more than I could have realized.

In softening, power and strength are given freely, and more sincerely realized.

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