“Come into Tadasana at the top of your mat…deep breath in, exhale into Adhra Uttanasana, on the next breath Uttānāsana; right foot back into Anjaneyasana, Warrior I, Warrior II, Warrior III, keep breathing people, drop the right leg into Uttanasana, Caturanga, slowly down into cobra or up-dog [you choose], rest in downward facing dog”.
"Ha? What? What is that? For a novice it is torture. For a devotee it’s either bliss, oneness, exercise or torture".
"Most people spend their entire life imprisoned within the confines of their own thoughts."
I lost faith in Yoga and yoga studio’s due to what I felt was a trivialisation, watering down or ‘reduced to clichés’ environment derived from a commercialisation and elitism present in a lot of Sydney yoga studio’s. Being partnered to a Yogi (of 14+ years practice) and walking the earth with a congenital spinal abnormality it was a natural mix for me to immerse into such a practical, methodical, and systematic discipline. But no! The comparison, competition, ego-driven instructors, the perfect bodies that could bend, fold and twist in the latest designer yoga wear as if it was a ‘best in show’ competition at the Royal Easter Show was all too much. Not to mention the complete degradation of the practice itself and the philosophy behind it.
Yoga defines itself as a science…powerful techniques for creating a sense of inner peace, harmony and clarity of mind. One could say that yoga has become an essential tool for expanding the creativity and joy of our lives.
And that it has. Welcome to Ubud Bali and to the Yoga Barn where you are your practice. No military like drills, no show pony’s seeking admiration, no escape from your own physical and mental practice due to encouraged competition.
Are we at the stage where consciousness has become too commercial…too serious…the latest fad or at risk of being all of them?
A dear friend recently shared a post on Facebook that resonated with me to the extent it built faith in synchronicity and my own self-consciousness. Not only did the post outwardly address the progress of the consciousness movement as a means for people to cash in on a ‘current trend’ but also on the lack of honest truth in the purpose of consciousness that has been left behind for a pretence of seriousness.
Most people spend their entire life imprisoned within the confines of their own thoughts. They may never go beyond a continued narrowing of doubt or questioning, confronting mind-chatter that is conditioned by the past. The article was perfect timing as I was ready to face my lack of trust in Yoga (due to past experiences in Sydney Eastern beaches studios resulting in me giving up yoga some 3 years ago) and there it was…synchronicity.
I walked into the amazing open-air studio at the Yoga Barn in Ubud, got my mat, a bolster and found a spot that I thought would have enough breeze to keep me alive during a 90 minute Vinyasa Flow (yes…nothing like a Taurus to choose the hardest for my return) in 33 degree heat, 85% humidity and waited for the room to fill and the instructor to appear. Being an empath I ended up there due to the feelings that were driving my actions…a need to get back into Yoga…a need to experience my deepest self…a need just to experience and loosen.
Faith reborn! Les the instructor resonated the exact content of the Facebook article…don’t take consciousness too seriously and have fun. And that we did. A joyous practice that allowed me to be myself…to rest in Warrior IV when I needed too (Les’ humour for child’s pose) which allowed me to re-establish my faith in yoga by removing my past inhibiting thoughts of eastern suburbs Sydney (so-called) yoga instructors.
The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. I chose no longer to believe everything I think, to step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who I am. I am grateful for following the feeling I had to immerse into Yoga here in Ubud and not follow the past thoughts from my ‘not enough’ thinking mind.
After an adequate amount of contortion (chair, crow, bridge, triangle, extended side angle, side plank, tree) to fill the 90 minutes I was in a space of enjoyment…physically, mentally and spiritually.
But...thank the gods for Shavasna. Shavasana is perhaps the most important part of yoga practice. Lying on the back, the arms and legs are spread at about 45 degrees, eyes are closed and the breath deep… intended to rejuvenate body, mind, and spirit.
Oh Shavasana…I love you so!