How often have you thought about how interconnected we all are with everything that exists? Don’t resist the idea, just imagine that you are one with all that is: the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the strong, the weak, the light and the dark. You are all that. We all are. There is no separation. Yet in our day-to-day lives we charge around with all sorts of stories attached to the idea of separation. The exclusion of “bad” and inclusion of “good” is how the ego splits our experience of life into little compartments.
As yogis we are seekers of truth and the truth is there are ALWAYS two sides to the same coin. That means without darkness we have no concept of light. Without frustration, anger and apathy we have no understanding of peace, equanimity and action. Opposing forces are in everything and understanding this is only part of the whole. We have to feel into opposition, know and befriend it so that we can get closer to the truth.
In Hindu mythology, Shakti (The goddess - symbolises the feminine principle, the activating power and energy) and Shiva (The god - symbolises consciousness, the masculine principle), with their sacred union can be used as inspiration both on and off the mat. By embracing these opposing energies we allow so much of the ego storytelling crap to dissipate so we can get on with the business of being complete.
Consider this quote:
“Only when Shiva and Shakti combine can action, movement and creation arise. Until energy is impregnated with consciousness it is ignorant, disordered, aimless and “blind”. Energy alone can produce nothing; consciousness bestows upon it content, form and direction. Conversely, consciousness without energy is dormant power, sleeping energy, and on its own is unable to be the cause of anything.” Read the full article.
But, how does this relate to our asana practice? More importantly can you find personal connection to these words and relate it back to all the parts of you? Have you ever come to class feeling like you don’t really want to be there, you know it’s good for you but you can’t be bothered? Maybe that’s the essence of Shakti alone – blind action with no conscious awareness. What about being consciously engaged in the idea of going to class, so much so that thinking about it is all you do? There’s the element of Shiva at play in that. Without unifying the two we act out of separation. Opposing forces create the whole. The whole is necessary for truth to emerge.
Ways you can embrace opposing forces in your practice:
Be willing to feel both strength and softness required in each posture. There should always be the power and integrity of alignment (action/Shakti) combined with the peace of relaxation (consciousness/Shiva) in even the toughest poses. Ask yourself: Do I need to clench my jaw to hold my arms straight right now? Do I need to hold my breath to balance on one leg? Inevitably the answer is no.
Competition is the same as judgement and judgement holds us separate. Separation keeps us from the truth. Thus, maintain an inward focus during your practice. Be aware of your own body and not the body next to you. As with all things there will be others both “more” capable and “less” capable than you. It does not matter. It matters that you are practicing together. One coin. Remember. Two sides.
Allow your shadow to have a voice. It’s ok to feel “not that into it” sometimes. Bring all parts of you onto the mat and let the practice do it’s job. Staying connected to what is, rather than separate from what is not reveals the truth.
I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences or shoot me questions if you’re not sure about something. Feel free to comment below and let’s start a meaningful discussion!
Namaste. Rhy xx
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