On the Mat: Retreat

Uncategorized May 18, 2018

“I want to be my own mountain and my own retreat.”

           — Anna White


Yoga beckons us to be givers and receivers. There is a time for growth and a time for retreat. Both nourish us into balance and wellbeing. In fact, retreat is essential for growth and life. Nature tells us this in various ways—the sun sets, trees and plants fall into senescence, animals hibernate and rest. When we are working towards a goal, we often run as fast as we can towards it in the straightest line possible. When we move too fast towards the goal, we can hit a wall and everything stops. What is really needed during these times is perspective, which is only gained by stepping back. This is a skill. To give space to not-knowing by stepping back is not the same as stepping away. Giving-in by setting down the ego tools of rushing and grasping is the high road. Giving-up is moving on to the next thing with all of the same dysfunctional ego tools in tow. This week on the mat, let’s shift. What in your practice needs more space? More time? More breath? When you have been practicing the same way and hitting the wall of no progress, it is time to give-in, not give-up. Let there be room for not knowing where to go. Retreat by softening enough for connections to happen. In each posture, there are pieces that come together only when you are quiet enough to watch. This is where yoga is a subtle beauty—each step back is the actually the leap forward you have been waiting for.

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