Freefall – My Yoga Experience Jennifer John – December 21, 2020Dec 25, 2020
A little while back during a yoga session with Beth Davis, I asked the question: “What is the difference between discipline and control?”
And over the past week, here’s the answer that yoga gave me.
There are two directions we may take in life. One is the path of resistance and the other is the path of least resistance. Neither are right or wrong, but both will dictate what direction in life you go. Like an onion, humans have many layers of past programming and conditioning that tell us what we think we need to believe about ourselves and the world around us. Though in the midst of all of this chaos, there is an available peace.
Yoga has brought a sense of peace to my life.
Not in any one moment but in a collection of experiences throughout my life. Simply put, yoga is a metaphor for life. It is reflected in everything that we do as humans. And everything is connected.
As I have found myself – again – navigating the journey of life. Deeply pondering the difference between discipline and control. I have found myself within the threshold of a new paradigm. A new way of looking at the world. This experience has helped me to peel off another layer of the onion on my quest to find truth. My truth.
What I have found, is that the more open you are to new experiences, the more you unlock your inner power.
Beth, my new friend, devoted yogi, mentor, partner in lightwork, and healer was placed in front of me as a mirror to reflect the inner parts of myself I needed to work on at this time. Far from my expectations of a yoga instructor, Beth – and yoga – have shown me a different approach to self-learning and self-growth I wouldn’t have been able to see on my own.
In my yoga practice – as a scholar of the sciences, I have found that my logical brain doesn’t serve me. I am constantly confronted with my own inner struggle to release old patterned ways of seeing the world in hopes of gaining a new perspective
And every time I approach my practice, I see something new.
Although in the past I have dabbled with different forms of yoga – different names, temperatures, props, music and the likes – this time has been different for me. When you truly open yourself up to the teachings of yoga, it becomes overbearingly apparent that yoga is not on the surface what you think it is. It goes much deeper. For what I needed from yoga in the past, isn’t what I need now.
Though I initially believed that yoga was essentially about movement of the body. I have come to understand a new layer of yoga (and a new layer of myself). Yoga (and my body) are SO much more interconnected with the mind and the soul than I could have ever imagined. Profound realizations have come up for me in the past three weeks of my new yoga practice. And yet what is new is also a continuation of what I started many years ago when I look back at attending my first yoga class.
In the past, I never would have thought I could become so immersed in a disciplined practice in such a short amount of time. And I NEVER thought my body could do the things it is learning to do. But as I strip away the unnecessary thoughts that come up for me while completing my daily yoga “homework”, I find inner layers of tenderness and love that are screaming to be nurtured.
Yoga has taught me that there is no beginning or end to experience. You can have as much or as little of it as you think you need to move forward.
Leading up to the moment I decided to practice yoga in a new way, everything and at the same time nothing that I had experienced in the past prepared me for the experience I am going through now. When I step onto my mat, none of my thoughts or assumptions about what I think I need provide me any useful direction. In fact, the more I overthink it, the more lost I feel.
A few days ago, I was practicing a move called “Seahorse-Camel”, which on the surface is a relatively simple pose. I had my intentions set on going with the flow and to feel the pose, as this is what Beth had instructed me to do.
Well! The more I “tried” to go with the flow, the more I felt the pain in my toes. The more I felt the pain in my toes, the more frustrated I got... to a point where I literally yelled out “I don’t know HOW to feel!” and at that moment I found myself in a ball on the floor lying in a pool of my own tears at the precipice of surrender. I couldn’t fight my mind anymore.
I was feeling.
I can’t explain or describe to you what a cathartic experience this was for me. As I am still processing what it means. Though I do know one thing for sure.
It isn’t based on logic.
It wasn’t based on anything my mind can comprehend; it just simply was what it was. A release of emotion – of sadness, anger, self-sabotage, self-doubt, and rejection. Like an undertow of emotions, I didn’t see coming.
When I find myself in a state of analysis, about what happened for me the other day. When I catch my thoughts trying to make sense of or map out what exactly happened, I just stop myself and ask:
What’s the point?
It doesn’t make a single difference in this moment what I THINK about what happened. Rather, I drop into my heart space and surrender. You cannot KNOW feelings. For they speak another language. Anymore than you can KNOW life. You must feel life. Feel the ebbs and the flows, the cyclical nature of events that happen without knowing why.
Beth asked me during out last session, in response to my curiosity about why she instructed me to practice the poses I am practicing – “why do we do anything that we do?”
And man, did that stick with me!
There really is no point to anything that we do. Not from our brains point of view anyways, but when we stop thinking and move forward with our heart, our hearts know why.
Freefall. Surrender. Release. Accept. Trust. Love.
These are the things that yoga teaches me now. Not what it used to serve for me in terms of posture, precision, perfection, and mastery.
I accept that my poses look the way they do and accepting that they are imperfectly perfect just as they are.
Feeling my way through each pose, just the way I feel through each and every day. It isn’t about mastering the art of yoga. It’s about being open to what yoga has to teach you. And that will be different for everyone, yet... simultaneously the same.
Yoga meets us on our journey wherever we are at, whether you’ve never stepped foot on a mat or have been a devout student for most of your life. Yoga is life, and life is a choice.
I choose the path of least resistance.
And THAT is my truth.
I choose to freefall.
I choose yoga.
And that is the difference between discipline and control.