Pratyahara and Newbies
This month I have been looking in detail at Pratyahara with my classes. This always has seemed the easiest of all the petals of yoga for me. As I have delved through this year I realize that I had only scratched the surface before. In my own practice I have been working with this idea that I have a finite space and time to process thoughts. So how do I choose my thoughts. What do I dwell on? Is my experience of my life based on fear, repulsion, attachment or ego?
Around four years ago I began to carve away at my life. I tried to clear out my life. I started with the brain drains, people who sucked energy from me. I then cut jobs that were energy drains and or stressful. I began to try the change my experience of what my life could be. This meant to slow down and step back from the extreme pace of life. I tried to focus my life more on things that brought forward the best aspects of me. Creating environments that nurture me. Examining my life I realize that I live in New York so that my brain has something to do. New York is like candy crack for my brain. My favorite time of the year in New York is spring and fall. I love the changing of the seasons. New York is eye candy for my bored brain.
During the past month I have been walking through the streets trying to physically detach from the sights and smells of spring. It is really hard. I try to put air bubbles between me and the world. See if I can change direction of my experience mid stream. Can I walk into a similar situation and come out with a new outcome? Am I influenced and tied always to what has gone before? Where does my mind get pulled. Can I stop a spinning mind mid-spin? What pranayama or asana practice supports this action? Prone savasana anyone? Can I go back to the mind of when I was a new student or do I get bogged down in the minutia of the moment.
That is why I love teaching the newbie class. They make me detach from the past. Each newbie student engages my mind and challenges me to teach the old asana in a engaging new way again. I get to have those aha moments again! I have baggage through aversions or attachments to certain asanas. My ego works furiously, is the class bending their knees because I have stopped the innocent discovery? How can I make it new, exciting and fresh for them? How to translate that after 20 years of peeling and clearing away my baggage there is still 50 years more to go deeper and deeper and deeper still.