Community Practice & Acceptance
We are still in the pandemic but there is always hope. We are still masking up. We’ve mastered the 6’ feet distance. We are beginning to vaccinate. I see a glimmer of light in the grey clouds. I see hugs on the horizon.
Throughout this challenge we have been supporting ourselves and each other in our practice, and that support has looked very different from the past for most of us. We’ve learned, or tried, to practice aparigraha, releasing attachment so we stay centered not concerning ourselves with the outcome of a situation, only concerning ourselves with what we’re doing right now. We’ve learned, or tried, to practice kindness, being considerate and friendly especially when it’s difficult. We’ve learned, or tired, to practice satya, being truthful or honest with ourselves first so we can see and be honest with the reality and changing nature of our life.
We struggle with attachment to a specific outcome; a yoga pose, a job position or raise, a trip or an event. We struggle with kindness; to ourselves when our wrists are pinched and painful in arda mukha svanasana, to our partner whom we now see every second of everyday, to our fellow humans as we queue 6’ apart, and wait...forever (probably 10 minutes) at UPS. We struggle with truth and honesty when we tell ourselves we are not good yogis because we cannot hold a 5 minute headstand, when we perceive others negatively letting our thoughts and moods build a story but not actually seeing the truth or reality of the situation.
The pandemic brings these practices into sharp relief as we continue to spend more time with ourselves, our usual escape hatches sealed shut, but we can choose to see and accept, or we can choose to see and condemn. Our yoga practice encourages us to see and accept. In our asanas, meditation and pranayama we invite ourselves to the mat to build the muscles to accept, to be steadfast in our own truths, to actively stay present, to be our own balm and support. In our life off the mat we invite ourselves into the world to practice acceptance, to be unconcerned by outcomes, to be kind, to be truthful. Each practice of acceptance helps us identify those things we have control over and makes life just a little bit easier. One of my favorite yoga guides Donna Farhi says that “Increasing the number of things we do have control over, we increase our threshold for staying with all things we have no control over.” Seeing and accepting that there is much we do not have control over, and seeing and accepting that there is much we do have control over is a lifetime practice.
I am beholden to the practice of yoga; a guide on life's journey, a persistent glimmer of light in grey clouds, a much needed supportive hug, a path of wonder and acceptance.