Connections

Practising yoga makes you more conscious about connections. You connect movement with breath, intentions to practice, your body to the ground and yourself to the universe. You connect and disconnect yourself at the same time, trying to enter the “yoga zone”. Interesting how a disconnection creates space to other connections. Digital detox can be great sometimes( I think I’m lucky because I grew up before mobile phones became a thing not to mention smartphones..)
I’m thinking of this topic for a while now, and I decided to put it in words, as I’m visiting Hungary and seeing my old friends always makes me a little bit emotional and reminds me how grateful I am to have them.

IMG_2003

But how do I get to friendship from yoga?
Connections are important to everybody, whether it is connections to other people, places, sometimes objects and most importantly to ourselves. I had a few classes when we were offered to dedicate our practice to someone and these experiences were really special, not to mention partner yoga or working together in certain poses. I never forget when I taught a class for a bunch of homeless guys and some volunteers and in the beginning I was very careful to enter their space at all but they looked ( and expressed) they feel very safe in class so we ended up in a circle of warrior III-s, gently connecting to each other, without weighing each other down but giving everybody the support they needed. Sometimes your yoga bubble is expandable and you let other people in:)
Beyond the mat, how you relate to people is part of your practice( Beyond the mat-the 8 limbs of yoga ). Friendships and social connections are very interesting, the intensity or length of connections can vary depending on many things. I think most of us have at least one person in their lives who would finish a sentence they just started and who could pick up a conversation where you left it even if it was a long time ago. The reason why I’m very grateful to life is because I have more than one of these people, and even though we might reside in different countries and our paths are not the same( probably the exact opposite in most cases) but the connections are there, solid and strong.
Imagine yourself in a middle of this network like flexible ropes connecting you together. Sometimes the ropes dissolve as you have temporary connections, they might not be forever but they bring you/ teach you something or simply experience something with you. And that’s okay, you can’t be best friends with everyone, people travel through each other’s lives all the time. Someone might come along with you when you grow up, someone might be there for a few months, years and the connections terminate..suddenly or just slowly fade away. Stepping away from a connection can be as important as creating a new one. Distance and solitude can teach you many of things.IMG_2002
As I said, connections are important but I also think that you shouldn’t let them sole define you. Yoga can be an amazing tool to self discovery, and expanding your practice beyond the mat can develop the connection to your own beautiful self and through this to other people. As an example, I have a very fiery temper, and sometimes this fire burns other people around me without them being the cause of it. Since I practice yoga,I am more careful about how I handle this, I might choose to have a very powerful asana practice followed by meditation ( if I have the chance) or more consciously choose a time when I can talk to people about problems instead of letting the volcano erupt. Being self-aware and self-connected can give you a different view of the outside world.

Supporting others and feeling supported is also important. How to support someone can be a complicated thing. I think we all have those people in our lives( and certain cultures encourage this as well) who would try to outbid your problems thinking that would make you feel okay.IMG_1998

Let’s say, you fall into a 5 m deep hole , and you only have a 2 m ladder and no torch just a lighter, you share this with someone looking for support who replies ‘oh, that’s nothing, I’m in a 10m deep hole with no ladder’. Should this get you out of the hole? No. Would this make you feel better? No.

As a wise friend once said to me, silent has the same letters as listen. Listening is an element of that flexible rope connecting us together, alongside with many other things( personal to everyone:) .

And to widen this, writing or reading a blog could connect people from different parts of the world, without knowing each other in person. You open a window to your thoughts( or get access to someone’s) to bring on new connections regardless of location. Read, write , be open minded and non-judgemental..and don’t forget to listen😊🙏🏼

The be present project

When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is a miracle.   /Osho/

Life is available only in the present moment. If you abandon the present moment, you cannot live the moments of your life deeply.   /Thich Nhat Hanh/

Life in London (or pretty much anywhere in the Western world) is often about rushing. Getting from one place to another, rushing to get a job, a living space, entertainment..it never stops. People are constantly online, absorbed in a bubble, never look up or look around. And all they do really is missing out. As the great thinkers above said, life only happens in the moment. But we are spending so much time in the past , reflecting on what happened to us, or the opposite, worrying about the future and we don’t focus energy on the right now. Before we now it the right now is gone.

Yesterday I decided to challenge myself to try to spend a full day focusing on present. No whatifs, no whatwillhappens,howwasthats ,  just try to experience what’s right in front of me. I have to say that I choose a day when I wasn’t at work (as a teacher who works with young people who have learning difficulties that would be almost impossible).

So, I woke up in the morning and didn’t spend 30 minutes in bed scrolling on Facebook. Good start:)
I had a very beautiful morning yoga practice followed by meditation and pranayama, I just followed my instincts and interestingly I ended up just following a new flow of asanas . I liked that:)  Yoga and meditation is a place where I am used to focusing on the present, although this doesn’t mean that this is not challenging. (see my previous post about The art of breathing and meditation).
Then I had my breakfast. In silence, I left my phone upstairs, so the virtual world cannot suck me into the bubble.

FullSizeRender

We did this in India during my yoga TTC, silent mornings, I remember back then some days  I found it challenging..
but today I just enjoyed my breakfast (yummy, isn’t it?), rediscovering the artistic beauty of porridge and how funny a sliced up fig looks like.. the flavour was more intense, I focused on how the colours look and the different textures feel like.

After breakfast, I had to connect as I had some work to do , some emails to send but that was it.

 

A bit later I made my way to the swimming pool. Public transport. London. People in their bubbles. Then this thing happened: a mum got on with a 4-5 year old kid. He was happy looking around (even directly in people’s eyes!)  and playing. And I realised: this is it, they know how to be in the present, they don’t spend their life constantly worrying about future and past actions. I’m not saying that from now on everybody should behave like a 5 year old, but it’s nice to sometimes look at things as one. I did this exercise once for a classful of  teenagers in a psychology lesson. I brought in a bubble machine and asked them to look at the bubbles as they were little kids. the outcome was amazing, everybody(even the ones constantly looking at their phones under the desk) got involved and the usually most ignorant young man had the great idea of using the fan to create a bubble storm in the classroom.

IMG_1853

I arrived to the swimming pool. I love water, I am a proper waterbaby( Scorpion!) , just being  close to any kind of water makes me really happy, swimming in water makes me feel whole. However, as part of the be present project, swimming had an added challenge: I usually use this time to rethink things, plan lessons, develop ideas for the future etc. Many of my lesson plans and yoga class ideas was born in the pool. So this time I tried to let those ideas, concernes, reflections just float in and out of my mind like passing clouds and my 45 minute swimming session became an underwater meditative motion.( I have to admit, for most of the time I was the only one in my lane) It felt really good.

FullSizeRenderkcTravelling back home a walked throuh my favourite corridor at Kings Cross, I alway have a feeling that at the end of that one day I find myself in Narnia or some kind of Wonderland.. this was the first time I noticed how cleverly the little lights sit on the side and I was observing people’s facial expressions walking through it. Many of them tourist, lookig at it the first time, with a curious face what’s in the end( it is just an escalator but maybe one day..:) )

 

 

By the time I got to the afternoon, I went through standing in the queue in the post office having a conversation with a young mum about her son’s excellent shoe disappearing skills ,  cooking and other domestic fairy jobs.

In the evening I had a meeting bringing some possible bad news. And there was it: the whatifs, the what didIdowrongs, the whatwillhappennows will all trying to drag me away from the present. And at that present moment I was upset. So I tried to live in that moment , experience it fully without going into any further combination. And it was really hard, I kept sliding down on that road bringing more negativity. But this was only my perception, creating therories about the future that’s not even there. Finally I found my connection back to the present, and it helped me to feel calmer and focused.

Overall my be present day was a very inspiring experience, and I know that a lot of times it is necessary to factor in the future or reflect on what happened, but I think it is important to try and be just present as much as we can. We can do this through connecting to people, yoga, meditation, art, any other ways you can think of…or just simply be,  experience our lives as fully as we can, and exist in that present moment before it’s gone.

IMG_1854
Photo:Pinterest