Stillness, Harder than Motion

In yoga this morning, we held each pose for what seemed like an eternity. Breathe, said the instructor (Katherine Austin, of Karma Yoga!). Muscling through isn’t going to take you as far as breathing deeply into the pose.

My mind started to wander. And wonder. What the heck was I doing there? Why didn’t I just leap out of it and head to work? This wasn’t fun. It was more fun to flow through pose after pose and work up a drippy sweat and move fast, move hard, so that the time just zips on by without noticing.

And that’s when it hit me: it’s harder to slow down than it is to rush through.

Which is exactly why we were holding the pose and seeping down into it rather than rushing past before we could notice. Because real transformation doesn’t happen when we rush on by.

Slowing down, at least for me, is much harder than being crazy-busy. Stillness is hard to endure. Because then I hear the conversations in my head, the self-doubt, the to-dos, the panic set in.

Which is all a figment of my imagination of course.

It just feels so real.

To be true to ourselves we must be comfortable being alone with ourselves. We must endure the silence and the stillness and just BE. We must brave the anxiety and wonder, deal with the discomfort, knowing the pose doesn’t ever last a lifetime. This too shall pass. It always does.

The point of the yoga pose – or the run in sleeting rain or the line at the dry cleaners or the kids’ crazy tantrum at the witching hour – is to show us that life is a measure of ups and downs and nothing truly diminishes our spirit, even if it feels like we’ll never make it through to the other side.

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