I returned home from a family trip to southern California a few days ago with a renewed perspective on my life and my yoga practice. The elves, my guy and I spent a day in the masses at Disneyland and then with totally different crowds of people in Santa Monica and Venice Beach. We stood in lines, went on long walks and road roller coasters. We did not want to leave and yet at the same time we could not wait to get home.
What came up for me during this trip to California and some recent conversations is that I notice how much of my time is spent looking elsewhere for things I already have where I am. I can label the exciting and fabulous in many places but fail to see that they also exist right where I stand. The desire to move physically, mentally and spiritually to different locations regularly draws me outside of my present moment and into a space that I think is truly a daydreamt land. My practice falters on days I struggle with not being able to move like those I see in my social media feeds and in classes. It is as if I am often in a mental location that looks like I am flying through the clouds with no clear idea where I am. Can you feel me on this lack of view and presence?
After standing in lines for an hour at Disneyland, wading through throngs of folks at Venice Beach and sitting for 6+ hours on a plane with strangers, I realized something profound and yet fundamental: the distractions of my mind and of my ideas about how things could be keep me from seeing what is. Rather than riding on the roller coasters, I was already plotting how long it would be to wait for the next one.
When we got home suddenly things that seemed so everyday and boring were special. Driving on quiet roads and seeing hawks in my yard had a profound impact. Spending the day at the elves’ basketball jamborees and laughing with our close friends and theirs felt like a luxury and a comfort. Walking into stores we frequent and seeing familiar faces and the folks there who know what we order and like was our own personal Cheers moment. Taking a few moments to exhale and teach a slow practice was more potent than a hollow back handstand.
So often we stand on our yoga mats and wonder why our poses do not look like the teacher’s, why our body cannot move in the way that our fellow students can and why despite tons of core work we still do not have flat abs. We judge the way we breathe, flow and even are still because we assume wrongly that other mat occupants have something we do not but should. We forget that the practice is internal, that it is about contentment and challenges meant only for us. We long for something we are not because we decide that we are in a position of lacking in some way.
It is rare to get a chance to step back and observe our places, our practices, our lives from a hawk’s eye view. To look upon what we have as so abundant and right and lacking only what we truly do not need. To be able to see into the forest of doubt and longing those small rodent like moments running through and across our paths which are so nourishing and abundant. Instead of looking for the explosive and the obvious, we garner the opportunity to dive deeper inside and see that we are so fortunate, and wise and already fulfilled in our lives and in our practices.
Because it is in our presence and awareness of who we are, what we have and where we are standing, not in the full elaborateness of our imagined ideals and daydreams, that we are rich, that we soar like the hawk.
This is my yoga.