“Elegance means appreciating things as they are. There is a sense of delight and of fearlessness. You are not fearful of dark corners. If there are any dark, mysterious corners, black and confusing, you override them with your glory, your sense of beauty, your sense of cleanness, your feeling of being regal. Because you can override fearlessness in this way, tantra, or the highest stage in Tibetan Buddhist practice, is known as the king of all the stages on the path. You take an attitude of having perfectly complete and very rich basic sanity.”
– Shambhala Publications, Ocean of Dharma
Day 317 – I teach a lot of kids that have ADHD. I teach with a lot of teachers who have ADHD. I’m beginning to think most days I have ADHD. My life bounces around from one activity to the next, my mind from one thought to the next. Exercise has always calmed this urge to keep moving and giving it direction and focus. When I stopped being able to move without pain, I became stuck.
In today’s reading, Rolf clarifies that concentration can have an external focus or an internal focus, and it simply up to one’s “own inclination on any given day.” I most enjoy getting up in the early morning and determining what my inclination is on any given day. When I was in pain, I had very little choice in movement, and I had yet to realize that I could actually take more of an internal focus, although that was what I ended up doing with pranayama and meditation. Similarly, Rolf describes the benefits of this concentration, writing: “What is important to grasp is that, through regular practice, the mind’s ability to concentrate grows, and this ability is the underpinning of all we do in yoga.”
So, today, when I put on my little yoga-pilates flow practice with Ashley Lopez today, my intention was set, knowing full well that I definitely cannot do the yoga poses (or pilates exercises) in this intermediate class without significant modification. I settled for an intention of “grace” (not grace of God for god’s sake–you know me). Grace in movement and in breath and in thought is my intention of the day. When I reach those sticky points of pain, of thoughtless banter, or mindlessly drifting off, I will try to continue to concentrate on how I move, breath, and think. Just as balancing in a one legged-twist at 4 a.m. presents significant challenges mentally, physically, and spiritually, so, too, will I gracefully extricate myself from life’s little postures that defy balance and logic. Moreover, I will do this with as much elegance and grace as I can muster, knowing it’s all part of the practice.