When I first came to this practice, I have to admit I was a little confused as to the difference between being “in alignment” (as per yesterday’s practice) and being “in sync”. Although I’m sure there is bound to be some overlap, I was having trouble finding concrete differences between the two concepts. So, I decided to focus on two points from Adriene’s accompanying email: being guided by the breath, and living in the now.
I’m one of those people who can tend to stop breathing during yoga, or perhaps more accurately breathe from such a tight, shallow place that it basically feels like the breath is being held. Really focusing on the breath makes a huge difference to my practice, and conscious breathing is one of the main things that I’m currently trying to work on off the mat, particularly in moments of stress or anxiety. Truly connecting breath and movement is something that I find I’m only able to do for short bursts at a time, before my body and breath get out of sync. (OK, a genuine lightbulb moment there as to the meaning of “in sync”, literally as I typed that sentence. It seems so obvious that I can’t believe I hadn’t quite grasped it until now. That, my friends, is why blogging this yoga journey is going to pay off!) It was nice to have some familiar sun salutations at the start of the practice which enabled me to really focus on moving the breath and body together. Those moments when you feel the two click together are pretty special. Rare, at the moment, but special.
Moving on to the second half of the practice… more balancing! I found myself wondering if my balance is actually getting worse, as I seem to be struggling in these poses more than I was a while ago. Maybe the fact that I’m focusing far more now on small points of alignment and opposition, and on creating a full body experience in each pose rather than just putting myself into the “correct” shape, means that I’ve essentially gone back a few squares (although not quite to square one). I lost count of the number of times I wobbled out of the one-legged Tadasana, but when I did hold the pose I was far more aware of the strength in my core connecting to the rest of my body. That’s an awareness that I didn’t have before, even though I might have held the pose for a little longer.
The other focal point that I took from Adriene’s email was to live in and experience the now, rather than the past or the future. This is a concept that has been a part of my life for a while, first in CBT therapy and subsequently through various books (e.g. Echkart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’, which I should probably read on a regular basis), although it’s questionable how consistent I’ve been in applying it. Not only can taking that approach enhance the time spent on the mat, but I think it probably serves as good thought training for life off the mat. This is something that I’m really going to try to implement in each practice going forward.
So, while I’m not sure I can buy into concepts like synchronicity (I think I’d probably like to, but the scepticism and cynicism are strong with this one), there was a lot to take from this practice, particularly in terms of bringing the tools of yoga to everyday life. As Adriene has said several times, that’s one of the main aims of Revolution.