"yoga is ninety-nine percent practice and one percent theory."
k. pattabhi jois
yesterday i enjoyed enlightening and inspiring conversation with cyndi lee. our discussions often take place over cappuccinos and chocolates and integrate our experiences of yoga, spirituality, art and our west coast upbringings with our individual journeys through this lovely life. cyndi's unique alchemy of intelligence, humor, support and tell-it-like-it-is wisdom is such a gift as i explore my weird reluctance to get my ass on my yoga mat.
i confessed that i prefer to be inside my head most of the time. i love taking in information through observations and learning from many sources and tucking each bit away in the jewel box of my mind (which in my world is synonymous with my soul). i spend hours in there tending to each precious piece, admiring the unique qualities of each and experimenting with them in pairs and groups. how do they metamorphose as the light travels through the day and illuminates a different facet of each? how does each new addition change the color or value of the previous inhabitants? as an introverted intuitive, i love it in there. the (endless) process of contemplation and understanding is my comfort zone. real world experiences, including yoga class, often fall short of how rich and glorious they were in my head.
driving home, i had this sudden realization that i prefer theory (the stuff that takes place in my head) over practice (the stuff that takes place on the mat). and when i write "sudden", i mean that i intuitively knew this already and i have said the words a million times, but it finally made perfect and simple sense. you know those experiences where you can intellectually know something for years and then one day, usually following the warm reflection and attention of another, you just get it? yes, that.
is there a way i can make the physical practice of yoga as beautiful as the mental contemplation of yoga?
practice. attention. practice. attention: the navigation of the crowd as we organize our shoes and stuffs. the hard give of the wood floor under my bare feet. the snap of the mat as it unrolls. the light warm pressure of palms coming together. the voice of my teacher. the structure of bone. the soft pull and resistance of muscle and tendon. that shaft of sunlight tempting my gaze from the line of my warrior's arrow. the fear of falling. the accomplishment of not. these are the real experiences of my yoga. they deserve my focus and i need to honor them. what are the unique qualities of each moment? how does each moment work with the previous moment to become a practice? how does each new moment of courage, each tiny increment of skill, each failure alter the entirety of the experience? how does my practice metamorphose as the light of each new posture, each new class illuminates it?
i'm on my way down the hall to explore.