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How scary is change?

Article posted by Yogi Beth in Fitness on October 14, 2010 - 1:32pm
Key words: Fitness, Yoga, Wellness, Vinyasa, Spirit, Mind-body, Mind, Health, Bliss.

We are moving into my most favorite season of all – FALL! One of the things I love most about living on the East Coast is that we get to experience the beauty of each of the four seasons and the changes that arise with each season. By noticing the difference of each season, we are reminded that it is the nature of things to change. Just look outside – the parks that were once filled with people basking in the sun and barbecuing are now a little less populated, the once green leaves start to take on those orange and red hues and flutter to the ground. Even in our homes we see change – like the strategic shifting of our closets from summer clothes to winter clothes; or look in the kitchen - one minute the sink is empty of dishes, the next it’s full, and then you clean them and it’s empty, and then of course you eat, and it’s full, and so on.
 
I will admmit that change is hard for me. I tend to like things to stay the same and to stay within my own comfort zone. But in the back of my mind I know change has to happen - I see it around me, within me. I can’t deny the extra few gray hairs as I look in the mirror (scary). Nor can I deny the extra strength and tone in my arms from many caturangas (1/2 push up pose – not so scary).
 
One of the great things about having a yoga practice is that it encourages us to stay present – to live in the center of change and experience the changes as they arise. If you have ever practiced yoga, you’ve probably experienced some kind of change. You might have noticed yourself coming in to class disconnected, stressed, tense, scattered, only to find that as the class progressed your muscles loosened, your mind quieted, your breath deepened, so that when you left you noticed yourself a little more connected to yourself and the world around you.
 
I practice and teach in the vinyasa style of hatha yoga, which basically means that every movement is linked with a breath. As you inhale an action in the body occurs, as you exhale something else occurs. There are many descriptions of this idea of vinyasa. Two that have resonated with me are:
          “Vinyasa is an outward expression of the subtle movement of life force.” - David Swenson
          (Vinyasas are) “…progressive sequences that unfold with an inherent harmony and intelligence.” – Shiva Rae
For me, these descriptions allow us to see that as we move from one shape to another and our energy and breath shift, we experience first-hand the change of each moment. We find out what it means to live in the middle of change – to live breath by breath as our hamstrings open a little more, as our arms shake as we tap into our extra strength, as our hearts open more and more.
The word vinyasa breaks down as such: vi = in a special way, nyasa = to place. In our vinyasa yoga practice we are essentially placing our steps in a special way, aligning our movements with our breath. Take that a step further and transition this idea off of your mat. We can literally shape and allow our lives to unfold vinyasa style!  So as we make our way through this glorious time of fall, with the leaves changing color and falling to the ground, with a busier schedule and kids back in school, and move into the inevitable blast of winter, filled with holidays, shopping, travel, family and another new year, can we live in the center of CHANGE – live in the center of each moment and see it for what it is – a chance for us to experience, create and live our lives in a very special way?
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Sweetp wrote

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This is very true. I was doing yoga for about a month before I stopped going due to pure laziness, but during that month of yoga I felt more motivated to do my work and to go out and do new things. I had more energy and I was less stressed. I just felt good. I even dragged my boyfriend to yoga class with me and although he was really reluctant, he agreed to come and he loved it! He said that it forced him to stretch parts of his body that he had never stretched before and it helped him to relax after a long day at school. I am hoping to get back into my yoga routine very soon :)

Riverside wrote

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What a lovely metaphor! I recently moved and started a new job and though I want to begin some sort of exercise regimen - maybe even yoga, it's been hard with all the changes in my life that have been happening.

I think you're right, though, I need to embrace these changes, as it's the way life - and the world - works and internalize them as a motivator instead of an inhibitor.

And SweetP - Sign up for a class! Get back into it! You can do it!