Notice anything about this recent attempt at writing a blog entry?
Notice how each new paragraph is crossed out? How again and again, I tried to start, only to run headfirst into that wall known as “writer’s block?”
Sometimes the yoga practice can be the same way. Eventually the initial “rush” wears off, and we discover our own blocks: a challenging pose, for example, or a particularly tight area of the body, or a negative thought pattern we haven’t learned to let go of. I was reminded yesterday afternoon, during City Yoga’s “yoga lab,” of just how humbling the asana practice can be, when I met my edge sooner than I anticipated time and time again, as my arms began shaking while we explored arm balances and inversions.
Often it’s tempting to either beat ourselves to death against that block or walk away entirely, but it’s at these times, I feel, that the idea of devotion comes into play. Devotion is a nuanced topic that permeates yogic philosophy (Bhakti, or devotional, yoga is considered its own path, distinct from Hatha yoga), but the core of devotion is love. It’s a blend of grit–a willingness to keep coming back, to keep trying–and softness–a willingness to be patient, to explore and shift.
In asana, devotion might mean backing away from a challenging pose but diligently practicing the preparatory work, or it might mean taking a minute to roll out your mat and sit with your breath during those times when you really don’t want to practice.
In my writing, devotion meant staring down the blank page but shifting my focus. Only when I stopped trying to force myself to write and started asking “How do I find the yoga in writer’s block?” did the words begin to flow.
It’s when we keep coming back–differently and creatively, but diligently–that transformation takes place.
I wish you all a wonderful week. 🙂