Sitting still

by avocadoandlemon

I’m a fan of action. I like to move, to do things. I’m often impatient.

And so I often need to be reminded that sitting still, not running around like a madwoman, is sometimes the quickest way to achieve something.

I teach both vinyasa and yin yoga, and I firmly believe that finding a balance between action and inaction is vital. Stupidly, even though I strive for this balance in my teaching, I often forget about the sitting still in my personal practice.

Over the last week or so, I’ve been struggling to work out some emotional uncertainties. The last two days in particular have brought with them a rollercoaster ride of feelings: sadness, anger, despair, shame, relief. And I’ve spent much of my time moving. At times it’s been my mouth moving, talking through all the emotions; at times it’s been my physical body, cleaning and rearranging my environment.

Finally, this afternoon I got on my yoga mat and took some time to sit still. I got out my jitters with a brief vinyasa sequence, before spending the majority of my practice on yin poses. Yin poses are passive; the idea is to relax the muscle tissue, find the point in the pose where the body just begins to resist, and just sit there breathing. On the edge.

Sitting still here, just at the edge of discomfort, forces you to look at what’s really there, be that physically, emotionally or mentally. I got a surprise; I found myself looking at someone who was doing okay, really. And I found I already knew the answers to some of the questions I’ve been agonising over.

Yin Yoga teacher Sarah Powers says that emotions are like clouds passing in the sky. Yes, they’re real, and sometimes they seem to have replaced the sky, but they can neither be pushed away nor clung to. They will pass, and the sky will remain.

Sitting still on my yoga mat today, I saw through the clouds and found the sky, just for a moment. But sometimes a moment is all it takes to remember that the sky is always there.