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March 19, 2014

The Most Important Thing. ~ Liam Bowler

Tree Pose 

Before beginning your next asana, workout or bout on a meditation cushion, consider: why am I here?

“The most important thing is to find out what is the most important thing.”

~ Shunryu Suzuki

May this question engulf, engage and challenge any notions we have of progress.

It’s such a simple question to answer, no? It’s simple enough as to be almost second nature to lose sight of its importance. We exchange meaning for numbers in our reps and sets, our alignment in trikonasana, our body-fat percentages, the roundness of our mudras in meditation.

Why am I here? Why practice these movements of body and mind in the first place?

Let us not be so quick to answer. The same structures of mind that can quickly name the ultimate reason, or quote some old yogi, can easily become a cage. We build structures, numbers, linear paths leading to some goal that is almost, almost always, in reach.

Sure, that structure gives us a direction and sense of progress, and for that we can be grateful. But it doesn’t answer our question. Our question can only be answered in the actual moments of engagement.

Why are we here?

Why devote ourselves to a practice, not in general but this practice, the one happening right now, today?

We can’t bring an ounce of proper alignment, one of our record-breaking double-unders or any clarity of thought to the grave. So why do it?

When the workout is done, how do I lift my water bottle? By what ease, alignment and awakeness do I get in and out of the car? How do we treat the next stranger we see?

Why are we here?

What is the most important thing?

 

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Editorial Assistant: Brenna Fischer/Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Jay Erickson/Flickr Creative Commons 

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Liam Bowler

Liam Bowler: Though Liam Bowler has never really been a self-identified athlete, his life lately is a lot of human movement: practicing structural bodywork and movement coaching in Seattle, as well as teaching dance, anatomy, subtle movement and CrossFit. More on Liam on his website: Dynamic Alignment Bodywork.