I’m a pretty careful person.
I’m a planner and a thinker and an organizer.
I like things in their place, stacked and folded.
I’m not speaking necessarily of the parts of my life that can be seen, like my clothes and papers and such around the house. I’m more talking about the parts that can’t be seen—the parts that are naturally kept under wraps, like most of us have.
I have friends that can talk about anything.
And they do, often to me. I think that’s because they know I will make a neatly folded pile for them, too, set it aside and leave it undisturbed for safekeeping. This is what I’ve done for myself over the past many years.
It’s just that I didn’t realize how tall my piles were getting and how many had sprouted. I didn’t know they were taking up so much space and resting at their teeter points.
This is how I stepped into yoga, thinking I was just there to exercise, believing there was more than enough time to keep folding and more than enough room to keep stacking.
But there’s something in yoga called a Mudra. It’s an energetic seal, a process that leaves no room for clutter. The practice awakens lots of energy and clears things out, and then that new space gets sealed in the body.
A Mudra can be big or small. It can be performed with the entire body or even with just your hands.
I have to admit, though, that the result can sometimes be a mess. I think yoga just came into my life at a time when I didn’t know I was about to burst.
Unbeknownst to me, yoga caused a big spill!
It messed up my way of organizing things and forced me to sift through some ridiculously old stuff. Words have fallen out of my mouth, my own secrets no longer sealed, much to my surprise. The contents of my piles have been strewn and there’s no cleaning them up.
I’ve grappled with this state of affairs and have come to the conclusion that yoga is a practice of acceptance, and maybe that applies to the self, too. Maybe I’m supposed to accept all the parts of those piles that were so neatly tucked away.
The mere fact that they spilled should tell me something; that living so undercover keeps others from knowing me, and keeps me from knowing myself.
It was a couple years into yoga before I learned about the Mudras. These seals are supposed to be healing.
Such seals can be made by just placing our hands to our foreheads or connecting two fingers. We lock and bind our bodies in many ways to do this, too. Let’s seal the practice, our instructor says when it comes time for the end.
I used to just hear that, but now I get that.
And, after so long, I finally understand what it means for the practice to create space. All that energy stirring things up, sweeping away whatever it is that no longer serves us.
And then we get to harness that new energy in that newly opened space by sealing it in with a Mudra.
For me, though, the difficult part is to let the wind blow inside and to not see the aftermath as any kind of wreckage.
Because when we practice, whatever is uncovered is only us, and we are all deserving of love and care and healing.
This is what the practice honors. This is what the Mudra seals. And this is what that new space is for.
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Ed: Sara Crolick