Day 111 – Rolf ends this passage with this: “Only by shining a spotlight on the obstacles in the path can we see the path itself.”
Truly, as I have written before, I look at my yoga practice as a solution most of the time, rather than a journey. Rolf describes this conditioning obliquely as he asks us to consider the problem we seek the solution for. The problem is that we anquish over “the loss of those we love.” Again, he lists these for us: “From the unrequited high school crush to the death of aloved one…we regret our past and worrry about the future. We feel the pain of ill health, betrayal, dsiappointment Then there are gross injustices–war, famine, disease…” Sound familiar?
Rolf introduces us to the five afflictions (kleshas): ignorance, pride, desire, aversion, and fear of death. He puts it aptly: “We seek answers outside of oursevles, when in fact the answers lie within. We look out into the material world and identify ourselves with it.” When it is all too much, I am just as guilty of being consumed with fear, which, according to Rolf, is “the root of all of our afflictions, chronic disease, our inability to be happy.”
The good news is he offers advice on the mat (after all, that is what this book is all about), advising: “Check in with yourself at the end of your yoga practice and see if you haven’t experienced a miracle of healing. See if you do not feel more at home in your body, more at home in your life, more at home in your spirit.” Does this happen for me every day? No, but I try for it anyway, from the supported bridge pose to the reclining pigeon to the modification of postures and movement that are too much for my body at present. In a slip from my presence on the mat today, I thought, “Gee, will I ever get that far into my twist again?” Quickly, I told myself it is not the end, but the journey. Who really cares? What does it really matter? Not really. Not even for me as a yoga teacher because that role is guiding others in the journey and crafting a safe practice to their potential. Who knows what that is and why fear where I am or where I am going?
What’s more is that Rolf’s advice about “shining a spotlight on the obstacles” in our path works well both on and off the mat. If we are not feeling fully present in the moment, if we are living in fear, pain, doubt, we need to change that. I hope that I can mirror this off my mat and in some small way help the world.