Go with the flow

Flowing river

Easy to say, but not so easy to do. How often do we plan something, then find that our careful plans are thwarted? How often do we have expectations of ourselves or others, then find that we/they don’t live up to those expectations? Generally, we like to feel that we’re in control and don’t like it when we feel out of control.

Remember the river, and go round the obstacles, rather than fight with them. Pause, take a breath and accept.

Yesterday evening, I went to my yoga class (as a student), and found that our room had been double-booked. The venue had another room, but it would take a while to prepare. So my teacher went with the flow. She could have got angry and sent everyone home, but instead, as it was a sunny evening, we did the first part of the class outside. Then calmly came back to the other room when it was ready. It was also a challenge for everyone attending the class. We’re all creatures of habit, choosing the same spot in the same room. So to be faced with going outside, and then a different room isn’t easy. Resistance kicks in, and we think, ‘oh no, it will be cold’, ‘people might see me if we’re outside’, ‘ why did this have to happen?’……… and I’m sure you can think of some others. Pause, take a breath and accept. Enjoy all the benefits of practicing outside on the grass, with trees all around, the blue sky and sunshine.

In my classes, we’ve been working with some seated forward bends, which can teach us about resistance and going with the flow. Accept where you are, breathe into the stretch and gently encourage the body to relax. Let go of the expectations and enjoy where you are at this moment.

See some reflections on listening to your body in the sitting forward bend from one of my friends.

Reflections on water

words relating to water and the moon

Water has so many images associated with it. Associated with the tears of our emotions, water can be calm, gently flowing or raging like a stormy ocean. Invigorating, cleansing, refreshing – you probably have some words of your own. Reflecting on some of these associations can enhance our yoga practice. Yoga can help to smooth troubled waters and to balance the ups and downs of our emotions. The moon sequence is particularly good for this.

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

 

Flow like a river

Flowing river
 
The warrior of light sometimes behaves like water, flowing around the obstacles he encounters.Occasionally, resisting might mean being destroyed, and so he adapts to the circumstances. He accepts without complaint that the stones along the path hinder his way across the mountains.Therein lies the strength of water: it cannot be shattered by a hammer or wounded by a knife. The strongest sword in the world cannot scar its surface.
 

The waters of a river adapt themselves to whatever route proves possible, but the river never forgets its one objective: the sea. So fragile at its source, it gradually gathers the strength of the other rivers it encounters.

And, after a certain point, its power is absolute.

From Manual of the Warrior of Light by Paulo Coelho

 
Yoga encourages us to go with the flow and be flexible. Sometimes, when you’re stiff you might try and push yourself into a posture, which invariably doesn’t work. If you accept, relax and breathe into the stretch, you’ll find the stiffness starts to melt away, little by little, working gently with your body. And if the tightness in your body remains, accept that, work around it and develop your own inner strength to find the stillness and peace within you.
 
In Dru yoga, we work with the flowing warrior posture to develop that inner strength and use it so we can help others.