September 25, 2012

Soaring Above Choppy Waters in Eagle Pose.

photo: flickr/HooLengSiong

I used to have a recurring dream that I could fly and, sometimes, I wish it would still come true.

Life, pretty much cooks along for the most part—in general, things go according to plan, in what my son refers to as The Land of Anne.

Sometimes, though, challenges pop up along several fronts and I can find myself navigating some choppy waters.

Sometimes, it can feel as if I have been at sea for a while.

On a recent trip, I was most eager to attend a yoga class, hoping to find calm with the room baking, the sweat dripping, the muscles twitching and the instructor talking.

Stay in it, she said. It was your decision to come here. Don’t think about running now.

We were in Garudasana (Eagle pose) with Garudasana arms and Garudasana legs. I sat down a little lower and raised my elbows. Punching my heart forward, I pressed my shoulders down, raised my elbows and found my drishti (focal point). In this class, we faced the windows. I held the pose, trying to keep my balance while standing on one leg, with the rest of me wrapped up tight.

The instructor continued her wise words.

Some of you might be thinking about your exit strategy right now. Maybe you think you can’t do the pose like the others; that you are different and that is reason enough to leave. Maybe you difference yourself out in life, too. That is how we isolate ourselves.

I hovered in Eagle Pose, my quad muscles protesting.

Am I more open to listening when my body is working its hardest?

I blinked the sweat into my eyes, as it occurred to me that, in the past, I have used what I perceive as my differences from others to take flight from situations; it is an easy way to opt out of conflict.

I thought about a complicated confluence of events and, while the instructor spoke, I imagined myself unlocking the window that served as my drishti, spreading my wings like the Eagle I was at the moment and flying away.

But that would be too easy, even if it were possible.

We switched sides, first reaching to the heavens, then settling down again and, this time, wrapping the left leg over and around the other and the left arm under and around the other. I looked out the window, found my drishti once more and listened as the instructor continued, encouraging us to maintain the pose and stay in the moment.

It is when things get difficult that the good stuff happens, she said. Stay in the pose. You did not decide to be here just for the easy parts.

An Eagle can learn a lot…and this made sudden sense.

Ordinarily, I would want to run from my challenges; however, I know that life is not made up of only easy parts.

It gets complicated. It gets messy.

Not everything can always be fine in the Land of Anne.

Just the other day, I had been discussing with a colleague the challenges I found myself facing. It was unusual for me to chat much along these lines, as I mostly keep my own counsel; but, it was raining, there was coffee and the office was cozy—it was conducive to a chat.

You are entering a new season, my colleague told me. A blessing is coming your way.

Turns out, her mother always tells her that when things get rough in all directions, big changes are coming.

Surprisingly, these words made me feel instantly better.

I could be ready for a new season! I could be ready for a blessing!

Both sides complete, we unwrapped our Eagle arms and legs and stood tall, as we stretched our arms to the heavens once more, then brought them to our heart center and folded forward.



The hard part was over…I had stayed in it and was better for it.



Editor: Bryonie Wise

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