All of my yoga life, I have found what I practice on the mat to be in a direct feedback loop to my “street life”. In the past thirteen years, I have been able to translate the blueprint of my body to inform decisions in everyday life. For example, I was making a serious transition in my life about five years ago, and I had a teacher who, while in utthita trikonasana, noticed we were all looking down and simply asked us to “gaze upward at your lifted hand. In life it is always easier to look down than up”. This simple suggestion and awareness point in the pose brought me to tears instantly as I realized how I was focusing on the anxieties of decision-making and just waiting for the moment to be over, instead of what could go right and enjoying where I was at that moment. This changed and rewired my brain permanently, and ultimately pushed me to take the path of being a yogic practitioner. So how did I get here, in a bind so to say?
Lately I have found an obsession with binds on the mat. I go for one in every pose that is deemed possible for the deep torso and shoulder turn and clasp of the wrist. Binds are uncomfortable, engaging, and drop you into the moment quicker than you’d think possible. How is this translating to everyday life though? How is this informing my reality, and how is my reality informing this practice?
About the same time I got super into binds, I had re-started my academic journey. Enrolling in seventeen credits while working full-time and assisting a yoga teacher training, I had literally bound up my life. All time was missing from my schedule. Friends took a back seat, my art creation stopped, and even my meditation practice screeched to a halt. Where did the time go? It was bound up by the goddess Kali, consumed by piles of paperwork, essays, studying, and space holding. I drank more coffee the last three months than I had all year. When the bind of time started to lessen, I picked up more work. But why? Why as humans do we twist and jam ourselves up into a contracted gemstone? And why did I have such a tough time releasing the bind?
Looking to the mat for answers and reconsidering what binds benefit, I can now see clearly. When we put ourselves into a bind, we become sharply present. We get stronger, and our ability to digest (food physically and information mentally) improves. And what about that sweet moment?! When we finally release the bind and open ourselves up to the cosmic rasa of the universe, unbounded and free, ultimately more primed for true downloads to flow into the heart-mind! It is true bliss~ I also noticed about two weeks ago how on the mat I did NOT want to let go of the bind. It had become a false perception of stability. I wouldn’t let go as I had become comfortable there. It was time to be present in this neural pathway and receive the benefits of the practice.
As humans we bind ourselves in many forms; time, finances, relationships, yoga postures, health. Through the unconfortability of the muscular engagement and twisting we become stronger and trained to take in more information, and put out more productivity. The most important thing to remember: release the bind and spend a moment in the sweet stillness of the integration! We need to remember that ultimately, the goal of binding is to free ourselves back to our initial energetic signature. If you forget this simple code, then how lucky you are to have the bliss of remembering! We are all here to forget and remember, this is what makes life fun.
Keep playing, keep loving, and be well.