Over dinner last night with a new friend, the conversations turned to D.H. Lawrence and our lack of connection to the cosmos. We were lamenting the apparent disconnection from our natural world in the modern times. He is an Irish musician who travels a lot, and our small wonder of an insular beach town amazed him with its abundance, both natural and spiritual. He remarked on the stark contrast between Santa Cruz and any industrial city along the river Volga in Russia.
We are blessed to live where we live. And with this good fortune, comes great responsibility to continually awaken, to not lose the heart to expand our awareness, to not become complacent, or stuck in habitual behavior. Our asana practice is a worthy pathway into this kind of internal work.
It's before noon and 81 in Santa Cruz. It's difficult to think about much. One can only muster a lazy smile, and go back to drinking the elixir of blue sky, brilliant sea, warm sun. The practice changes in this kind of weather. We are softer, more open, a bit more languid in our approach. The achy mornings of winter are behind us, and even though it may have felt like we were pressing against frozen ground all those cold months ago, the seeds have germinated and are ready to break through. It's a delicate time, and it's an exciting time. It's time for 'fun', energetic, chaotic practices, where new poses that have eluded us suddenly come, and we dare to attempt other, previously impossible feats. It's also a time that injuries can be common. The heat and zeal can work against us if we play the edge recklessly: inflammation, aggravation, angry muscles, can become painful reminders of our personality, of our habits, and our patterns. Raising our awareness to listen in times of high energy, can train our inner ear for the times that we are not on our mats.
I have been reluctant to blog much lately. Mostly because teaching live is taking up most of my time, and I must practice discernment for more balance in my life. But also because the more I teach, the more I realize that I know very little. This, I know: The human body fascinates me. I love to dissect our movement patterns, the places where awareness is dormant, and I love nothing more than helping a student wake up what they didn't know existed before. I love this work so much that I dream about it, think about it relentlessly, and those of you who have seen me teach, know that the work lights me up. I feel confident doing this work. I feel ALIVE and AWAKE doing this work. My aim is to not only work with the body, but the mind and spirit also. I teach from what I know intellectually, what I've learned from my teachers and their lineage of teachers, and I teach from an internal knowledge that only comes when I am able to fully connect and relate to another human being. The connection and the relationship, much like in real life, don't always happen. But they are so worth the attempts.
But what I mostly draw from is my own relationship to my body and to my practice, my own direct experience, which by definition is always very limited. So the reluctance in blogging or talking more about the practice in my classes comes mostly from this realization: I know nothing but what is true for me, in this instant. I don't know anything about how you should live your life, or, which deity you should surrender your love to. I don't know what your path looks like, I can only tell you where I've been and what it felt like to me. I can support and nurture your process, I may even be able to suggest an exploratory route for the time being, but the best thing I could do for you is to empower you to figure it out on your own. But you see the problem with words? I could not ever empower you, because I can not give you what you do not already have.
The sky is blue. Time to look to the heavens. Words are slippery when it comes to the internal work. Better to not say much.
*The title comes from a magnificent collection of poetry from one of my graduate school professors, Juliana Spahr. I have read this work so many times, and each time Yoga has become a bit clearer to me.