Wow, what an awesome day. It’s definitely spring and Boise is just beautiful. I remember driving through here over 30 years ago to head to the family cabin. Boise has changed and so have I. It’s one of the challenges with Yoga or centering practices, the constant nature of change and the effects of our practices as things change. What centers you one day may not have that same effect on another day. One recomendation for practice is to sharpen your technique of observation, measure and adjustment. Because the nature of what is un-centering you will most likely change and your nature will also likely change, the exercise of artistically and technically moving with that may be the best tool in your toolbox for staying centered. Relying on a specific activity (hiking, yoga asana, cooking) can prove faulty because the avenue to those tools or activities probably wont always be accesible. But developing a keen ability to respond well, even while using different activities and using them differently at times, just might be the key.
What do you do when your best centering activity is mountain running and you suffer a knee injury, or you feel most present after a vigorous yoga class but then you hit the road and can’t make it to class? Many folks end up in a downward spiral when that avenue they have relied on so much is now in-accesible. The good thing is that centering is centering so it doesn’t mater your method, what matters more is the quality of your technique and the effect you cultivate. It helps if you can address a specific un-centering issue but that’s not always necessary. For example, the body is more naturally un-centering, it’s wants food, rest, attention, it begins to collapse due to emotional or gravitational forces and more. The effect that has on the more “mind” layers of your being (these layers are less seperable that I represent here) is even more uncentering but in different areas that lead to other functional or focus issues. You can feed it, bath it, pet it and sometimes that does it but sometimes it’s just not the right thing. Yoga Asana at it’s best has a direct centering effect on the body which has a secondary centering effect on the mind. Sometimes folks even work through the body with some negative effects on the body while experiencing centering effects on the mind. This can eventually become more negative than positive because of the cumulative negative effects eventually making the use of the body as the avenue towards centering, in-accesible. This happens a lot when the folks begin to mistake the succesful sensation of being more centered in their mind as meaning that they must have done healthy work for the body as well. It needs to either becomes a much more diligent practice of all around positive work or an exercise in measuring something akin to a “cost to benifit” ratio. Eventually, as time goes on and things continue to change, we want to become better at more pure positive effects. The uncentering forces will continue to be present so the answer to more frequent and longer lasting periods of centeredness is refining how you do it more than what activity you use to do it.
As I get older, what I can afford and even have access to has changed a lot. Over the years my technique has dramatically improved and so has my awareness. It’s been a hard pill to swallow that some of my long practiced routines have negative, un-intended consequences that acompany them. In the workshop session this morning I admitted to a group that there are a number of yoga postures that I simply don’t practice or teach much anymore because of the poor cost to benifit ratio that accompanies them. I continue to use yoga asana but I do it with a much higher positive effects while using technique, frequency and more to ecumelate less and less negative effects. I guess you could say this has been the same exercise with friendships, food, alcahol, family and more. The only thing not really changing is the persistent uncentering tide of life options. The great freedom in life is to change the effectiveness and artistry in how you engage with the rest of life.
The eventual goal I would guess, is to end up on the positive Karmic side of all actions even when the choice of actions is between two things that are going to end up with some negative effects.
Good luck centering and maybe you can even have a centering effect on others to.
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti
(lease enjoy the short video clip, it’s a simple little centering exercise you can do just about anywhere)