In the mornings, I pad softly down to the basement with a cup of lukewarm lemon water. I close the door of my office behind me, and crack the window if it’s humid. I turn on my salt lamp and flick my thumb over the top of my lighter to light my favourite candle. I turn off the big overhead light that guided me down the steps in the dark, and sigh into the ambience: I can wake up slowly, to the smell of geranium and black pepper, with the softness of my yoga mat beneath my palms and knees.
I have been doing my yoga teacher training for the last eight months or so, and as I near the end of my training, I’ve been asked to commit to a forty day-long daily practice.
The practice itself was custom-designed based on an assessment of where my body was most blocked, energetically, as well as on my current life circumstances (read: massive, all-consuming shift). It’s a simple, short practice full of forward bends and twisting postures, and ending in a breathing exercise and a ten minute meditation.
And it is seriously, seriously fucking with me.
At first, I felt really distracted during my practice. I thought that was probably just the nature of getting used to things; my teacher reassured me that it was my way of expressing resistance to the daily practice, and that it would go away as I continued.
It didn’t. And then other things started to happen, too.
In my practice journal, I found myself writing things like:
“I feel like I’m putting in a ton of effort with my mind in this practice, and not enough with my body.”
“Finding my meditation difficult to visualize and relate to. Maybe I’m trying too hard?”
“I can’t help but think I’m doing this wrong in some way. I have so much resistance to this practice, and yet at the same time I feel like it can’t be long enough or challenging enough to actually be making a difference to me.”
And there it is. Effort. Using my mind too much, not paying attention to my body. Trying too hard. Fear of *doing it wrong.* Desire for “effectiveness.” Not enough, not enough, not enough.
What shows up here, shows up everywhere.
I chuckle, a little, to read the ways in which my daily yoga practice has been triggering all of my current (and long-time) hot-button issues. Just when I thought I had started to make progress on these aspects of my life, here they are again. And I chuckle because this is the effect that any practice that pushes an edge for us in one way or another, whether it’s because it’s new, or more regular than usual, or uncomfortable in some way, brings out the patterns that we most need to address.
I find this all the time when I work with people using the labyrinth as a healing tool. When they trace their finger around a labyrinth for the first time, true natures come thundering forth: “am I doing this right?” “oh, I’ve got this” “what is everyone else doing?” “am I there yet?”
What shows up here, shows up everywhere, too.