Vinyasa yoga is about dealing with the present. The end of any cycle opens the beginning of a new one, and at each of these junctures we have an opportunity to choose how we want to proceed. When beginning a new cycle, we might choose to create an intention, and honor this intention with some kind of ritual. Upon arrival, we might be full of gratitude that we made it, and want to savor that feeling.
But what about when we’re stuck somewhere in the middle and hope doesn’t seem be anywhere in sight?
The other day, I realized: it’s when we let go that we really enter flow. I’d been unsuccessfully trying to balance a handstand for several days. For some unknown reason, I couldn’t seem to find the sweet spot that I usually could and I wasn’t enjoying my practice anymore. As days progressed and the handstand didn’t happen, my practice filled with more and more frustration. Finally, I decided to forget about doing handstands.
I didn’t do one for over a month, but when I finally kicked back up into one, it was pure joy- I found my sweet spot right away and was able to hang out in it longer than usual. I’d hadn’t even been planning to do that particular handstand- it just happened, right in the middle of a new sequence I was playing around with it.
Somehow, letting go of it helped me enter the state of flow I’d been seeking. What was the difference this time? I think it was simply because I was feeling happy. That spontaneous, joyful movement of kicking up into the handstand without fear turned itself right into a handstand.
Honor The Rhythm
There’s a rhythm to our practice, and our inner state also has rhythms. The deepest rhythms of our being are revealed by our innermost cravings, desires, or wishes. We all have natural rhythms of relaxation and action that we cycle through. In order to thrive in our practice, we need to honor our own unique rhythms and embrace everything about ourselves—including our deepest yearning to rest or our strongest desires.
When everything is flowing along fine, rhythm enhances the experience. Establishing a new rhythm can help us balance any dissonance we are feeling and return to a place of integration.
Be Renewed By Breath
It may seem simple, but the most powerful way to get through an intense moment, especially if we are feeling tense or resistant, is to simply exhale and be renewed by the next inhalation.