Practice and All is Coming

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When I last wrote an entry here in very early February, I was enthusiastically welcoming Spring with its’ promise of brighter days, renewed natural growth and the awakening of seasonal shifts. How disappointing then, to note that as I write almost two months later, that Spring feels yet a distant reality. Reports of heavy snowfalls and electricity failure in the North are repeated on news bulletins. Flooding and road closures in the East and South warn motorists to take care and bitter easterly gales whip the island on which I live . It has been a long Winter.

But then, doesn’t what we desire to have or be often feel tantalizing close yet impossibly beyond reach?  The summer holiday booked in January, the momentous family event planned well in advance, the release from school, college or workplace at the end of term… How we value the intervening time and how we refer to it is telling – filling time;  in limbo; biding time- says a lot about how we value the present and project unconsciously into the future. The lesson here is that regardless of how laborious these intervening stages seem, the future will eventually arrive and transform into a conscious present.

And similarly during yoga practice, I have found myself as a student- from time to time- wandering into this same territory during a routine class, a challenging sequence or demanding asana (posture). Is this class nearly finished? Where’s the clock in this room? When will we get to Savasana (final relaxation)? As a student, the transition from the busy mind to the quiet mind, which is desired for a deep and restorative practice doesn’t always come easy. But. We get there in the end. Without realizing it, we let go of expectation unconsciously and find ourselves being invited to take our final relaxation posture, Savasana, or corpse pose. And all is well.  We feel restored. And when we finish the practice, we remember nothing of the impatience, the frustration or restlessness we perceived as impenetrable half–way through class.

Sri K.Pattabi Jois, founder and master of Ashtanga Yoga, puts it simply, ‘Practice and All is coming’. This is not the same as saying ‘it’s about the journey not the destination’, which sounds corny and trite at the best of times, because ultimately, the destination is irrelevant. So when it comes to desiring for Winter to end and Spring to finally arrive, it will be irrelevant, as Spring evolves and reveals itself in much more subtle forms than we can perceive on a physical level. And when we perceive that it has ‘arrived’, it quietly transforms once again. Thus Spring dissolves as Summer takes up residence. Our yoga practice draws to a close and we become aware of the subtle benefits and transformation gained since we first unfurled our mats. At first we practice, and then all is coming.