(There is a rhythm to this post as it is the third in a series of 12 that form the foundation for my manual: The 12 Steps of Personal Transformation. The first two were, Surrender, and Patience)
I’m already sweating and it’s only 8:10 am. I’m about seven minutes in to a 75 minute Hot Power Vinyasa class. The gentle rhythm of the ujjayi pranayama is coaxing me into a decent flowing chatter and I realize that this journey is how I imagine some kind of intense sky-bound carpet ride to be. Today, I’m the teacher, but as is usually true for me in any yoga class where I am the instructor, the give and take is so easy that sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between me and the other students. We are all so eager, earnest, reaching out to the universe, asking for a hand, that will securely guide us toward that ever elusive transformation.
And even though our initial reasons for being there so early in the morning might vary, there is a common golden thread running through us and that is the beautiful edgy shakti that we are bringing into ourselves through the inhale and the funky jagged negative energy we vigorously expel out through the exhale. So much intense breathing is going on that I feel like the room is vibrating and that absolutely anything could happen.
And to a certain extent it does. Hot Power Vinyasa Yoga invites play within the asana. I insert a good dose of alignment for proper body protection. Therefore, from my experience, what emanates from the class is a personal expression of meditation in motion based upon the individual student practitioner’s intention and point of reference. Today some students ended up at one point midway through the flow in Bird of Paradise, while another stayed in parvokanasana, and yet another used the opportunity to bind the side angle pose.
I love this expression of the union of yoga, the way it seamlessly intertwines who we are with how we physically express ourselves. I believe it is the purest way of witnessing the convergence of yoga on the mat (asana practice) with yoga off the mat: One cannot exist without the other. Who we are, what we hope to be, the indwelling of aspiration within us, manifests through the pose. And each expression is ultimately and sweetly uplifted, inverted and invigorated through the breath.
In savasana, or corpse pose, I always suggest to my students that they surrender the effort inward. It’s a neutral body pose that is completely active: “Imagine a big ball of light whirling around inside of you, lapping at all of the places that need to be soothed, inviting your body to expand to its ultimate possibility of expression in complete and total surrender.” Blissful death only to reawaken to the new you.
This is the promise of yoga as I practice it on and off the mat, as I instruct it on and off the mat, as I coach it on and off the mat and as I live it on and off the mat. The repetition is intentional. I’m inspired each and every day to maintain the integrity of the convergence and hold tight to the fullest expression of the potential that such a powerful coinherence reveals me to be.