Just Dance – Life is Well Enough as it is

When I went to yoga teacher school, part of the process was self-study. In fact the niyamas, part of the eight limbs of yoga includes the practice of svadhyaya which is a study of your inner realm. Yoga, after all is more than a physical practice. It is the life long practice of looking at yourself, finding your issues and working on them in the quest to becoming an enlightened being. With practice and time, the layers are peeled back to find our atma or higher self.

 

Now, as a teacher, I find myself in constant self-study and to add to it, I am surrounded by healers. It is great in a way, but in another, not so much. You see healers can sometimes see problems everywhere. There is always something that deserves a deeper look at, always something that needs to be fixed. Sometimes, it can go too far, like a person who enrols you in dance classes in a style you hate because you can’t get your steps in time with everyone else. It creates pressure and you end up resenting the dance even more. The thing too is that healers can be broken, and sometimes, in not wanting to be broken alone, there is projection, making their stories the stories of others, but it is not the case. It is never the same.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, and one of the things I decided in my 30s was that I would only surround myself with people I actually like, but some days, I grow wary of the digging. Being female, I am good enough at breaking myself down so having an army of people turning every action or non-action into an issue doesn’t really help matters. Sometimes all the digging is a bit like reading those useless ‘how to’ articles in female magazines, you know the ones, ‘how to meet prince charming,’ ‘how to live an awesome life,’ and ‘how to make a man love you,’ etc. If you actually just put the articles down, you might realise that your life is pretty awesome and that you are, in fact a shining star.  All these things that are there to ‘help’ sometimes just creates is this sense of not being enough or not doing enough.

 

The thing is, not everything needs to become an issue and every issue should definitely not be made into an excuse. We all carry scars from our childhoods and our youths. In their own way, they not only shape who we are but have also brought us to this space here and now. My heart carries the scratches and bruises of being my father’s daughter and the unhealthy relationships I have had in my life, with self, with people, with addictions. My heart might always wear these scars and perhaps, although she may never fully heal, it is fine, she can move forward and with time, she will get where she’s going.

 

All this poking and prodding and digging, how much does it really help? The emotional body is not quite like the physical body. My right hip flexor is sore and that can directly be traced back to my torn hamstring and how I compensated for that by doing things differently. The emotional things however, the deeper things, well, perhaps they are fine as they are. Perhaps, although there is a deeper story it is not for us to know yet. I am tired of how my being single becomes a dissection of how I am either not manifesting, setting intentions, putting it our there or the opposite, putting it out there too much. I am tired of how caring for someone means that I am not taking care of myself while they get what they want.

 

Life and yoga to me, is this great amazing dance. You dance on your own, figuring out your own steps, you dance in a group, finding ways of how that works and you dance with a single other at different times, in different ways, friend, sister, lover. You can help someone if they’re dancing with an injured foot, but who are we to say that people are not dancing the right way or to question their steps.

 

You might see two people dancing at opposite ends of the room with this amazing chemistry between them – she with just the right amount of softness to compliment his strength. Occasionally they dance close to each other but they move away again. Sometimes you just want to make them dance together, and when they don’t you start handing them pamphlets of dance schools that can help. I’ve learned that some dances, like the dance I dance when I’m alone, are not made to be shared. They are my steps to my tune. It is the same with a dance between two people. They each come to it with their own breaths, steps, backgrounds, rhythms and sometimes, it takes time to figure out how to dance together. They lose count, step on each other’s toes (sometimes on purpose) and they might even drop each other, but nothing is broken, nothing needs to be fixed. It is their own dance, to dance for themselves, not for you. And if you are the dancer on the floor, this is your dance, not for the world.

 

Life is a process.

 

Yes, we want to get there, wherever there is. We want that perfect handstand, we want to be loved, and we have so much love to give, but some things, the good things, no matter how you dissect or tear apart, you just can’t rush. Perhaps, there is nothing wrong with being fine with how things are not exactly how you want them to be. Perhaps, not liking having my feet of the ground is not some big character flaw that I have to fix and perhaps giving love not knowing if it is returned is not something that means I’ll spend my life pining while the ones loved just take.

 

There are always a million things that can be wrong, that can be fixed, but there comes a time when everything is just fine the way it is. Les Leventhal reminded me that a flower opens when it is time. If you pull the petals open, they break. It is the same with most things – your body in practice, your life in its journey and your heart. When it is time, nothing you can do can stop what is going to happen from happening.

 

So relax.

 

Live, love, cry, break.

 

Listen to the music and dance. This track might be shit but the next track might be fucking awesome.  What you do at that exact time is always the right thing, and if you decide that you want to change your dance, slow it down, take a partner, change the pace – there is always space for that too. Remember that in a dance, there is that strength, but also that ultimate surrender to the music. Most of the time, you don’t really know what music is going to start playing.

 

 

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A Sensual Life

The world we live in today is very much focused on a climax.  All you have to do is look at a billboard, and there it is, smack bang in your face, pronounced, prominent, and completely without mystery, sex, climax.  It seems to me that in a life where everything is rushed, the act of sex has also become something to just get over with so you can focus on other things.  There is one element that seems to have been forgotten in life… sensuality.

As Sensual as Wind Blowing Through the Leaves

Sensuality has become a lost art in the current fast paced world.  It is no longer appreciated and most of the time, it is not even part of the picture.  To be completely honest, I never really thought much about it, but it is something that was encouraged when I was a traditional dancer, and it is something that has come up a lot recently in yoga.  So much so, that it has raised some questions in my head.

What is sensuality? Is it an art that you can learn? Or is it something that some people are just born with? Is it something that is only apparent in sex or is it something you can take into life? My yoga instructor Muzzy has been speaking a lot about being sensual in our practice, and I think he has hit the nail on the head with this one.  He explains sensuality as moving consciously and slowly, with breath and a gentleness that can only be harnessed with inner strength.  Seen from that perspective, sensuality is something we can take into every aspect of our lives.

At 21, what I wanted was to have a job and be in a relationship.  There was no savouring of any moment and there was no self discovery involved.  It more about the being in a job than what the job was, and more about the relationship than who the relationship was with.

Now at 32, my priorities have changed a bit (I hope).  With work of course there is no choice.  Everything is frantic, everything is urgent and manic, and sensuality really has little or no place in it.  In relationships and the rest of life however, I think we do have a choice.  Of course I would like to be in a committed relationship.  I would also like to savour things a bit more.  Right now I wonder why I spent my entire life rushing into things.  Where was the fire? What was I working towards? Do any of us know for sure?

Life is this beautiful wonderful journey, and although everything tells us that we should be in high-flying corporate positions and married with two kids by 35, we really don’t have to.  Although the media says that we have to be in committed relationships to enjoy Christmas and Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t it be better to be in a relationship with someone who really is worth committing to?

When all our friends are set on what they want to do, is it wrong for if we want to take a deep breath and explore something new?  And once we see it, is it wrong if we want to breathe in this journey and see the sights along the way?  When we meet someone, is it about “possessing” them or is it about getting to know them to be sure that we want them to “possess” us?  Is it about the commitment ceremony or about that slow journey before hand?

So how do you live a sensual life? According to what I learned on the yoga mat, this is how – Take deep breaths.  Spend time with yourself.  Be humble.  It is only when you realize that you don’t know everything that the world will open up to you.  Don’t stop learning, even though it has nothing to do with your career.  Teach. Give.  Reach out.  Marvel at the world.  Allow people and things to touch you.  When you meet someone, just be happy to take the time, a month, or two, or six.  Be there so that you remember the first time he takes your hand, the first kiss, the first fight.  Savour him, so that months later when the night is cold and dark, you can wake up and remember how he felt. Remember that strength doesn’t mean force. Don’t be afraid to laugh and cry.  Remove labels from emotions – they are not bad or good, they just are.  Wear your heart on your sleeve once in a while.  A bit of pain makes future pleasures sweeter. Enjoy your space when you are alone, and from there you can create space for someone else.  Set good intentions, but don’t rush to get there.  Move slowly – enjoy every breath, every pulsation, every touch. The journey is every bit as important as the destination.  The climax will come. There is no rush to get there.