This week on the blog, I'm posting quotes from Donna Farhi's Bringing Yoga to Life and reflecting upon them, because Donna is brilliant and I hope to connect you (and myself) with her beautiful ideas.
Read Monday's Post "Box of Monsters" Here
Read Tuesday's Post "Relationships" Here
I want to talk about this quote with all of you all the time. I'm obsessed with this quote. This is it. This is the work. This is yoga in the modern era.
After I first read Bringing Yoga to Life, I posed this question on Facebook: when was the last time you sat still for ten minutes without doing anything else? I expected that most people would say that it had been a while. I didn't realize how many people would say it had been years. Some said they couldn't remember the last time they'd sat still.
True confession: I used to be a savasana skipper. I went to this yoga-inspired fitness class at the local gym that included savasana at the end. I would get up and leave before it started. I had an entire story in my mind that I told myself. "I can't sit still so it's okay that I leave. I'm honoring my limitations." A friend of mine came to one of the meditations workshops that I taught last year and afterwards, she came up to me and said, "That was really great, and it's so funny, because I remember when you used to skip savasana." We laughed. I had come full circle. But first I had to drop that story. I had to learn how to sit with my discomfort about sitting.
That first yoga class that I attended where I stayed for savasana, at Liquid Bliss Yoga in Ship Bottom (Hi Catherine! Hi Ashley!) was where things changed for me. I stayed. That was probably one of the most important turning points in my life. I became willing to sit still.
I hear a lot of students tell me that they can't meditate because they don't have time, because it's too boring, or because they can't sit still. They have become human doings instead of human beings. But that's okay. That's where they are now. That's where I was. But I do believe that learning to just be ourselves with nothing else there to protect or entertain us is the first step toward health, wellness, peace, and prosperity.
If this quote of Donna's speaks to you, dig around a bit and see what comes. See if you can step outside of your story and notice it from afar. Is it true? Is it really true that you can't sit still? Is there anything about sitting still that scares you? What would happen if you tried it?
Ten minutes is a lot, I will say that. For some people who haven't sat still in years, ten minutes can feel like torture. I tell my students to start with a minute. Sit still for a minute. Then try two. Then three. Right now, I aim to sit for five minutes each day as part of my own practice. My long-term goal is to build to twenty minutes, twice a day. But remember, a few years ago I was at zero. Rather than not trying at all or quitting, I am taking the gradual approach to building a meditation practice. If silence is too much right now, try a guided meditation. You can find them online and there are also meditation CDs and podcasts. Get into the habit of closing your eyes and turning inward, led by someone else's voice. Once you get comfortable there, sitting in silence will feel a bit easier.
Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow for more Donna.