In my class I'm often talking about making space in the body, freeing up the chest or the lungs and making space where space seems to not exist. I was reminded recently about how congested the mind can get during our practice, and that reflection brought me to my practice on and off the mat.
Off the mat I can easily get frustrated with my seemingly inability to eat at what I would consider to be proper intervals. Sometimes my meals come hastily in between classes or I'm eating lunch at 3:00 because I had to rush somewhere in between classes. I get frustrated because things don't look the way I would like for them to look. In my perfect mind I would like to magically flit between class to class, crowded train to another crowded train, and land home like a magical fairy unexhausted by the events of the day. I imagine myself preparing my meals for the week and carrying them with me in my bag and sitting outside eating my slow meal, arriving to class an hour early so that I have time to practice parts of the sequence that are still challenging for me to teach. I imagine coming home and waking up for my early morning classes bright eyed and bushy tailed! "YOU LOVE what you do!" is what I frequently exclaim to myself.
In reality this would be great if each day could be like this...but it's not. Truthfully I'm often pacing in my mind on the train praying I can make it to the next studio in time to not have to rush while putting my clothes on. I'm often grabbing food on the go and sometimes it's not the healthiest food, my bag (though it's great) is not ideal for holding my multiple changes of clothing and at the end of the day looks like a 90 year old hoarder's living room. I get grumpy, angry, and I often fight back the urge to push the people who are talking on their cell phones on the subway stairs as I'm racing to teach my next yoga class. Some days are better than others. Oh yeah and biking just isn't possible all year round here in NYC...it's cold, rainy, and sometimes snowy.
I cleaned out my small black bag today...a small black bag that was a gift to me years ago. Since I've been teaching it has become the home of all the little things I need to get through a long NYC day: chap stick (4 tubes), face moisturizer, green tea bags, phone charger, my inhaler, breath mints, allergy pills, aspiring, toothpaste, etc. As I cleaned out this bag and reorganized it I noticed something....in the past I was frustrated with this bag. Why could I NOT keep it orderly on a day to day basis? I would literally get anxious and angry at the thought of having to clean it out. Suddenly today I was no longer angry. I realized it took me all of 2 minutes to completely reshuffle and reorganize the bag. I removed the clutter and reorganized it and it felt great. Sure it gets cluttered every day, and every day I may need to de-clutter and reorganize it but I can do that now with less weight. I have been organizing the bag now almost every day for the past month with angst-and for the first time the congestion in my mind surrounding this was gone.
It's a lot like our yoga practice or any kind of spiritual practice. We get clutter in our mind and bodies and when we move through an asana practice or through meditation we reset ourselves..we recalibrate and reorganize and remove the clutter of the mind. Every time we come back to the work it becomes a little less laborious and we remove more clutter. Ever notice when you practice every day or meditate or pray every single day without fail you become a little lighter? Sure it's not perfect, but it's this lovely way to reset ourselves. And while I don't expect my days to always be light as a feather and easy I can engage in this practice of decluttering the mind to help me to get through my shit. Removing the congestion of the mind isn't easy, but once we feel the space in the mind that is freed up it becomes this palpable bliss. What a crazy ride this is.
Let's decongest our minds together through a strong practice this week! On the mat we'll explore a couple of asana that will take us to the land of "oh my God I'll never be able to do this" which will force us to face our own congestion and move through it .
Join me on the mat this week.