are we there yet?”
As we set off for our holidays, often the desire is just to get there, whether we are age 3 or 50. As we grow older, we learn to be more patient, but the trepidation of the destination is often still there in the same way. I often dream of a day when we will be able to be tele-transported when we set off on holiday as the idea of spending endless hours in a crammed airplane seat is utterly unappealing.
We often approach our yoga practice in the same way, rushing hastily to and from the pose, to and from our asana destination. We seem to think that the posture is the yoga and that everything in between is unimportant. The reality though is that our transitions are just as important as our destination. Getting in and out of postures is often where injury happens, as it is the space in the practice where our attention might falter.
When we practice a flowing type of yoga like vinyasa, we are working towards a fluidity in the practice that goes hand in hand with the breath. All the transitions in and out of the poses are ignited and paced to the rhythm of our breath. This allows us to stay mindful throughout, not just as we hold our asanas.
We also tend to live our lives off our yoga mat, focused on the destination or the goal, potentially missing out on the journey. When I stopped working in the city, rushing to and back from work, I suddenly realised how many robins there were in London. Until then, they had eluded me, apart from a few occasional moments of lucidity to what was around me. We rush, here, there and everywhere and forget to notice, to experience the life that is around us.
Mindfulness has become such a buzzword and trend lately. But mindfulness is just that, experiencing life as it is and as it unfolds around us. It is about being in the present moment as often as we can, as we travel to our destination, as we arrive and as we return from our journey. The whole experience is one.
So next time you are on your mat, take the time to transition, to notice every moment of your practice and to see all movement as part of a whole. Over time, the edges will blur and the whole practice will flow like a dance, a dance with life in every moment of our existence.