“Humans innately resist change because we feel safe with what is familiar and fear the insecurity that comes with something new. But life inevitably oscillates, moves, and changes between the known and the unknown. So often we are not ready to accept the flow of life. We seek freedom but cling to bondage.”
When the change we face is intense, even life-threatening, it is no wonder that we get caught in feelings of insecurity and fear. In our world we now face dramatic change on many fronts. But as yoga practitioners, we have tools to address our anxieties and build up our inner reservoir of courage, contentment and tranquility.
One important way to build up these qualities within ourselves is to take supported and restorative postures on a daily basis. These poses calm the nerves, mobilize the breath and restore hormonal balance. Through quiet, supported poses, we can shift from the “flight or fight” mode of the sympathetic nervous system to the “rest and digest” mode of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Prone or facedown poses in which the abdomen, chest and head are supported can bring a peaceful experience in a short period of time. This type of deep relaxation brings refreshment and rejuvenation. As we practice the art of relaxation regularly, we may become more resilient, so that change does not feel so threatening. As Mr. Iyengar says, we learn to move with the “flow of life.”
Change is an inevitable constant. In yoga philosophy this is referred to as prakrti or nature. Prakrti includes the world, all objects, our bodies and our minds, because all of these are subject to change. The term purusa is used to refer to that which is not subject to change – the eternal, infinite ground of all being, the Universal Divine Spirit, the Ultimate and Absolute source. Yoga posits that suffering occurs because we are primarily relating to prakrti, which is temporary, instead of purusa, which is eternal.
Earlier this summer, I was facing a lot of anxiety about keeping the studio running. I felt the weight of many difficult decisions, and much more change than I could comfortably tolerate. When I talked to my yoga teacher about these struggles, he offered wise counsel:
“The ups and downs of life are the surface. Every day, dive deep into the infinite, and relate to that.” His words have resonated with me and helped me reorient my yoga practice to help me with my emotional serenity.
Many of you know that here at Green Tara Yoga we just made a big change to an online registration platform. This process required many weeks of effort, and fueled many emotions – hopes and fears, excitement and insecurity. The launch was a huge success and showed me again that while change can be hard, it can almost always be a path toward growth.
I hope you will take a look at our new Class Schedule and Registration page. Our online classes can help support your yoga practice even during these extraordinarily challenging times.
Green Tara Yoga is here to help you build up your inner resources of calmness, resilience, and adaptability. I hope to see you soon.