Wednesday, January 13, 2010

HOMEWORK - Are you THERE yet?

Have you ever been tempted on your yoga mat to ask "am I in the correct position YET?" or "is this RIGHT?". Although these may be valid questions I would suggest another one of a completely different nature.

It's relatively easy to think of chakrasana (the wheel) or padmasana (the lotus) as positions to be ARRIVED AT. Like Malpensa or Linate. Or an island in the sun. To feel like if you could only "arrive" (doing an asana "well") you will finally be able relax. Well....the bad news is that you never get there. At least not permanently. I'm sorry. The good news is that you can, and I whole heartedly suggest that you do, relax anyway. Padmasana is not a destination, it is not a state that one day you will enter and remain in, forever content in your new found ability. It's a process. You may find your "get there" and then the next day you can't quite manage it again. One day it might feel like heaven and another it might make you feel like dousing your yoga mat with petrol and setting fire to it. You never get to your "final destination" but.........does it really matter?

And the same goes for happiness. It's not a state. A permanent Pinacolada by the pool. The question "Am I happy yet?" is not useful. It presupposes that if you get through that interview, start dating Claudio and buy a new BMW you will pass automatically through the door marked "happiness" and stay there forever. As they say in Italian "beato". Often it doesn't quite seem to go that way. Happiness seems constantly elusive (like padamsana for some) and just a short step away. And here again it's a process, you will have moments of feeling happy and moments when you don't, you will get only a glimmer of it one day and and another you will feel it's warmth for much longer. And if you don't it doesn't matter. Self criticism is not helpful. So you do not feel like a Mulino Bianco Mum? Mulino Bianco only exists in the biscuit tin, and even then only briefly.

So for your homework this week I invite you to ask yourself a different more constructive question (and answer it) which is;

"how could I be happier?" (NOT "Am I happy yet?" Which is punishing in itself) I invite you to make a list of changes you wish to implement to make this happen.

And ON the yoga mat;

"How can I change this position so that it feels good to me"? (not "Am I there yet?") You may need to move a part of your body slightly, you may need to change the speed at which you are breathing, shift you weight - experiment with and enjoy the process without worrying about the final result.

I dedicate this post to Guido. But not because he needs it!

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