How to flow, in two steps

By Jana Hill
Yoga Instructor

It was one of those sunny days. I was in that process of accepting change: it is slow, methodical, but without surprise.

It’s the purpose of internal yoga, that acceptance of change; because we live in our bodies, and all change resides in movement. Lack of movement sends messages that are ominous. Activity tells the brain that things are steady. Keep flowing on the mat and flowing in life, and your brain-chemistry will respond by lifting your mood, healing your heart, and opening your mind.

It is odd when the usual in life plays out, and simultaneously doesn’t work anymore. It’s a sweet time, if you let it be that. Recently, I gave up something and took on something else. I let go of my “now,” in all of its predictability and with all of its plans and expectations.  In that loss and gain, I let every disappointment-sensation fly.

I took a chance. We prepare for these times, in our yoga practice.

In the wake of that change, I opened up to motherhood in a new way, eyes opening to what has already been playing out — kids that drive, kids becoming adults. I have looked out at sunsets and seen them differently. I have stood on beaches, and been unimpressed. I am usually overtaken by nature, but not now. In this phase of life, it just gives me pause to look at rolling waves. It doesn’t sweep me away like it used to. I find myself wondering, “What’s next?”

That’s step one in any flow: that “what’s next?” In a yoga practice, the skillful pause can lay out decisions in a meandering, meditative movement: bend the knee, hold longer, come out, flow to the next pose. Stop. Start. Breathe. Life is no different. The decisions just hold more facets, more shades, and more of a need to pause and reflect, before acting. On the mat, we prepare for what we’ll do when we step off of it, and into life.

I am in step two: the set of moments. The flow. The step-by-step vinyasa of life. Here is the moment. Where to go next? What to do. When to be silent. When to back out. When to forge ahead. Does the moment call for an energy that’s fierce? Always. Does it require action or a nonreactive silence? When to breathe into it, and when to back out. Endure a pose and hold it? Endure a moment; rather than move through it?

When to accept a limit, and favor ease — on the mat or off.

We all live our yoga, whether we know it or not.

Jana Hill is a writer, editor, yoga instructor and an Island Mom. 

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