There is no denying that yoga can make you feel invincible, a deeply connected spider creature. Every cell of your being stretching and flexing in unison making you feel completely integrated in your actions. PHYSICALLY. Make no mistake, this does not help you flex and stretch emotions that are heavy or ungrounded. In fact you will get your bendy fix for a few hours until your body returns to its tenser version of what is actually going on under the surface when you surface from your practice. For that you need the breathe, and lots of it. If you practice postures till you are taut and energized like a caffeine fiend, you are asking for another layer of yourself to unfold. The softer quieter version of yourself is ready to be discovered.
What happens if you plunk your butt down when you are ready to go for your second run of the day? What happens when you are a jangle of nerves and want nothing more than the distraction or a few sun salutations to shake off your jitters? The thing is, asana is a tool and like any tool can be used for the wrong job. When you find yourself at this crossroad, and you will if you practice long enough, notice your sweeping fluctuations. Do you vary between feeling edgy and like a superhuman? How often do you feel the “need” to practice? In reality, if you can’t practice yoga, looking at your child or catching your breath out an open car window, you have missed the point. You have logged hours on a small piece of rubber meant to remind you to find yourself again and again. In every moment. That doesn’t not mean you don’t exist outside of a pose. The poses can be a great challenge, and an endless source of inspiration. They can also be a distraction from what you are really trying to wriggle or run away from molding yourself into every shape but the uncomfortable impossible to sit with shapes. Like grief. Like a broken heart. Like an addictive behavior. Like a very old belief you know you have to shake but can’t figure out how to. Like a fear so strong it keeps you moving in any direction but the one and only that will lead you through and to the other side.
Here is my advice. Become aware you are doing this. When you practice slow it down, and start to slow other things you enjoy down too. If you enjoy dancing, dance at a pace that makes you remember that a large part of your life is waiting for you to embrace more fully. You waste a lot of energy running. You waste even more pretending that you aren’t running and keep doing everything but start feeling what it is that keeps you chasing shapes. The only shape that will ever suit you is sometimes so uncomfortably awkward that even you won’t recognize yourself. But the brightest strongest most flexible you is waiting on the other side, sipping a latte, feet up, doing less, but trusting more. You are yoga, don’t go chasing what you already have. Remember to dive deep within your challenges to find the jewels. Sit with the pain, disappointment, discomfort and carnage that will only allow you to emerge fearless of the next layer of yourself.