On The Mat. My Yoga 'Why'.
I make no secret of the fact that I’m a sensitive soul. I feel deeply, which has often felt like a blessing and a challenge all rolled into one. At my best, I am compassionate, fuelled by a passion and drive to contribute and make a difference to the world.
On the more challenging days, I’m overwhelmed by my own feelings and the bigness of pain and suffering in the world. On these days, I’m led down a corridor of anxiety, self doubt and fear. I feel small and inadequate and ineffective.
One thing I know without doubt though, is that I’m not alone in these feelings. Feeling big feelings is a part of being human, as is finding ways to be with them.
Recently I’ve been pondering on what it was that drew me to the yoga mat all those years ago and captured my heart for the long-game. And this was it - the way that moving and being in pockets of stillness made me feel. As I noticed the sensations in my body and got present, this had a magic way of dulling the noise that felt otherwise relentless. A moving meditation, you might call it.
This capacity to notice something beyond the automatic thinking the mind engages in is a super power. A real life, within-your-grasp, super power.
That is what captured me on the mat and what keeps me there to this day.
Of course, I also simply adore the physical elements of my movement practice - the strength and flexibility it offers me; the way it exposes my patterns (both physical and mental) and simultaneously gives me a way to explore and shift them. Even just talking about it shifts me to a different place.
Today, to try to put into words and imagery the reasons why I move, I’m throwing back to an old passion of mine - poetry. Words have always been a refuge for me, and I hope you enjoy these ones that I’ve woven together.
On The Mat
Sometimes, the world feels noisy
And the sirens of pain and competition and masquerade
Pummel my cage
I feel the edges of myself splitting, creating permeability
Where I want to be impermeable
I’m pulled out and out
I’m no longer sure where I started.
So I turn in.
Sometimes, the inside feels noisy
And the sirens of self doubt and guilt and fear
Rattle my skull
I feel lost
My head and my heart hurt.
So I turn in.
Further in and in, but out too
As I place a foot here
A hand there
Feel the ground meet my skin
My skin meet the ground.
I get curious
Practice noticing without adding the stories
Because already there’s enough noise without that.
Of course the stories come anyway
But I turn in
The pummel and rattle dull
Beyond this place of feeling and noticing
And that little pause after. And before.
When I turn out again
The anchor point tethering me to my centre
Is a little more firmly lodged
The pummel and rattle
Somehow I’m stronger
Yet less rigid
But to get there -
Most of all