Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The yoga of connecting; simple is enough

Hello dear readers,

Technically a blog has no obligation, but every time my life gets away from me and keeps me away from my blog, I always feel the need to apologise! So readers, I'm sorry for the long absence from this space, and I'll do my best to keep the posts coming for the next little while.

True to my gypsy name, I am traveling at the moment, this time a long work trip that will keep me away from home for 3 months. I'm once again visiting the half-island nation of East Timor - long time readers will remember that I used to live here. It seems that my fate is entwined with this place, for life keeps drawing me back. With a whole world out there, incredibly I am sitting in an office that is only a few doors away from the very first office I sat in 9 years ago when I first came here. Perhaps some places are truly magnetic to our souls, or there is some karma that I have with this place that I have yet to work through.

Morning commute ;)

This time I have the wonderful opportunity to be spending most of my working hours traveling around the country and talking to local people. I will be on the road a lot and my yoga physical yoga practice will most certainly suffer from it, but there are other kinds of yoga. The yoga of connecting to people is one that we so often neglect. The yoga of getting to know other human beings, of asking for their perspectives and listening to what they have to say. We get so engrossed in our personal practice that we forget that the real practice is how we live our lives, minute by minute, day-by day.

Being back at a desk job is also a shift for me. Gone are the long, leisurely morning practices that I have had over the past few months. Now, I am rising in the hot, humid darkness, stepping on my mat still half asleep, swatting mosquitoes. Every step between bed and the mat is a struggle with myself, trying to keep the fire of tapas, discipline, burning long enough to get me to the first breath. But once I am there, everything flows. One breath turns into another and before long a thin sheen of sweat has sprung to my skin, and my body moves into life.

These mornings feel like a homecoming, an echo of years worth of morning practices. To do them (and still be at the office by 8am!), I have stripped back my practice to the basics, trying to get the most out of my limited time on the mat, and it has surprised me how well this simplified practice "fits." It's as if I have stripped away everything that was not serving me, and am left with a practice where every breath, every asana, meets a need. Nothing is extra, no energy is wasted, no thoughts or emotions flung into attachment to "goal poses" or the length of my practice. The reward: I am calm, focused, and (I think!) pleasant to be around. I can go about my day of listening to people with ease and relaxation. I notice a huge increase in my productivity at work on the mornings I do yoga, and a huge loss of focus on the mornings when I trade my practice for an extra hour of sleep. It's nice to be reminded of the transformative power of a simple practice and to remember, in the midst of our complicated lives, that simple is enough.

Dear readers, I promise shortly a return to our regular programming, with some highlights from trips around East Timor thrown in as a bonus.

For now, go on, get on your mats - or get off them - and see what happens. :)

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