Dropping back and coming up from urdhva dhanurasana was a long process for me, years of self practice and once in a while receiving help and encouraging smiles from my teachers. The process taught me lots about a steady strong foundation inside as out, compassion inside as out, overcoming fear, opening up the heart, being part of something bigger and not apart from it, and that between going back and forward there is a steady space of being. The process also taught me the value of patience, acceptance, letting go of an internal agenda of how I wanted things to be but honoring the pace of my body (overall, physical, mental, energetic, all had to simmer, marinate in certain ways not to break down the system).
But this post is not about backbends, this post is more about taking the time for ourselves to be with ourselves. For me this is practice. In practice I am with myself and cannot escape (myself), distract myself, no music, no passing landscapes, no-ones lead to follow but mine.
Practice is a great teacher.
It gives me a chance to introspect while times are passing, it gives me a chance to pause and feel, encode the workings of my mind and beliefs, observe my actions/reactions. From becoming aware of what I do, I can create an opportunity to change if I notice and feel in my body that how I go about something is not benefitting me really. There is no room for bullshitting myself in this practice. It's not easy to face my own bullshit and to not just hide/tug it away somewhere. But over the years I also learned that this confrontation brought about - and continuously is bringing about positive change, beneficial directions, new turns and chapters - and yes! - there is still lots to learn here, the bullshit is ever unfolding, or something like it..... **Sorry about the expressions, my PhD research was literally involving feces and letting it explode, it seems to stay a big topic in my life, hehe.
Yet with no doubt, through practice, we learn that we are responsible for our actions and the echos they have.
And yes, with this practice we become more strong and flexible physically (and this can be a point that we sometimes get attached to), and it makes us feel alive in all places of our body (how you feel physically has a huge influence on how you feel mentally and emotionally, and vice versa....) - yet the true magic for me is the development of inner strength, flexibility, and self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge seems to be really something, especially in these times.
(also still so much to learn... how many life times more? ;P )
This modern world can be demanding in all sorts of ways. Just from my humble observations, it seems very demanding for most of us. For example, technology is evolving more and more, working opportunities get increasingly outsourced, work contracts have a time stamp on it making work force more exchangeable and short-lived. We are far removed from where our food comes from, and have no idea (and perhaps never even asked ourselves) how our food was treated before it reached our mouths. We take on high expectations for our ourselves and the people we associate with as we conform to norms of looking and being, as we collectively believe we are are not good enough as we are, we have to look/be a certain way, have to acquire certain goods, fake likes and sympathies, so that we feel accepted and enjoy external status.
All these demands have an array of effects on us where we seem to collectively sideline ourselves, and with that sadly our planet (wtf), where we become confused about our own value as a human being, confused how to find foundation/ground and validation in ourselves (instead of reaching to something/someone outside of ourselves), about how to even be with each other, and about our true needs (compared to our wants to make us feel good or patch up a void)....
In order to not get derailed and walk ignorantly with open eyes within this glitzy forest of instant gratification, it is important for all of us to source ourselves in one way or another, check in with ourselves, find some moments of stillness to resist becoming numb and robot-like (sorry robots). To take time for ourselves, is still a choice. A choice we can all make.
We all have choices how we are with ourselves and how we are with the earth and people around us, we do have agency. Moreover, we are not separate, we depend on each other and the world. Sadly the natural riches of this world are steadily ceasing while we are bound to our screens but lack eye-contact with another, slaves to instant conveniences, nurturing a disconnect between head and body, we know a lot probably more than ever but we seek outside ourselves for foundation, meaning and fulfillment, inside ourselves we are rather poor and lack wisdom.
Collectively, we numb ourselves with all sorts of distractions. Stillness, being with what is, being with feeling, observing rather than reacting has become a scarcity in this fast-paced material world. But how are we really going to make decisions that feed and nurture us (us as a person, us collectively, and also the earth) in the long-run and not just to satisfy an impulse or fill-up the feeling of disconnect with something material. Having a relationship with yourself is the most important relationship there is in this life, this one feeds all others. There is responsibility in relationship.
How do we really want to be as humanity? No need for anyone to do drop backs or backbends, yet in this ever evolving time with more and more to do and knowledge to obtain, take you-time/quiet time away from outside prickles and go inside asking yourself what matters to you, what gives you meaning, how do you want to live? What does it mean to be human?
Can you be with yourself when it's quiet and there is truly no distraction?
Personally, I don't think everyone needs to practice yoga to find stillness, but any sort of being alone with oneself, observing, going into the level of the body and breath, with no distraction and measureable goals to obtain - find some sort of way to source and nourish yourself from the inside.
May everyone find a way for themselves to hear their inner compass so to maneuver through this world in a peaceful, graceful and honest manner,