Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Responsiveness and Necessity: Kayaking and Yoga

I had a really good morning down in San Marcos. Kelly and I  spent some time on the river which is always super fun. We are in desperate need of some rain around here and so the water is getting lower and lower but there was still some wave to play in and it was refreshing to be in 72 degree water. That is a cool thing about The San Marcos River- The water is spring fed so it is 72 degrees year round which is pretty mild as far as rivers go. I still wear a wetsuit even in the middle of the summer since I get cold easily but is not a frigid experience by any means. Plus, I suppose that after 40+ days of triple digits already this summer, cold is welcome!

One of the things I like most about whitewater kayaking is how alert I have to be. While yoga requires focus and concentration for sure, kayaking has a whole other element because the medium we are working/playing in is moving.  Balancing on one leg on a stable floor is one thing but a river is never the same- the water is moving, the current is changing and the  kayaker must be continually responding to those changes.  For instance, what worked in the wave when you first get into it  will not necessarily work all morning long. In white water  kayaking, one has have to rely on their skills and not on formulas or habits. Its like in teaching yoga- we teach with principles of teaching, not rote sequences, rote instructions or formulas guided by "always and never". Discernment and responsiveness are the guiding principles in my opinion, not rules or standardized, predictable answers.

And the responsiveness is key because while a lot of us can get scared or freaked out in yoga doing a new move, in kayaking you are  not just be upside down but you are often upside down, getting pummeled by a wave and under water holding your breath! So maintaining composure is both more difficult and more necessary.

Lee talked a lot about Necessity as it related to spiritual practice. He was fairly adamant that a life of true spiritual practice was difficult and the easier thing was to simply allow one's desire for comfort, ease and unconscious  mediocrity to take over and be the order of the day over and above self-scrutiny, self-sacrifice and surrender. (He was not saying and I am not saying that we should never be comfortable or anything like that- he was simply talking about the force of habit we have to overcome if we are going to align with who we truly are over and above who we think we are.) 

I think in 12-step recovery a lot of what gives Necessity is the fact that one has reached a point of despair or a "bottom" of sorts where the negative pattern or behavior has escalated to such a degree that the person is "sick and tired of being sick and tired." Keep in mind, this is not limited to outer behaviors or substance addictions. We might be sick and tired of feeling unworthy, of feeling unimportant, etc. These bleak moments often yield a stark clarity of insight where we know we need to change something, even if it is "just" our perspective, context or attitude. It is in these moments of clarity where we actually see the that the stakes are higher than we thought and there is a cost to our habits that is greater than we realized.

And yes, I  think we can also grow from a place of longing to be greater and from the recognition of goodness within us that we want to bring forward. I definitely think we can feel a creative resonance with something profound and want to bring that awareness into our lives and that longing can create Necessity as well. I have felt that also, that deep yearning to really love from the expansive quality of my heart. 

So the point is not so much what gives Necessity as much as that we have it. And that we stay tuned into it because it gives us a lot of fuel to keep walking the path when it gets difficult.  And it will inspire us to stay responsive, not reactive and to maintain our connection and composure when we are upside down in a rapid getting a bit pummeled!

So here is a picture of me in the wave.

We also checked in on The San Marcos School of Yoga to see how its paint job is progressing. The property is a corner lot and there is the yoga building (pictured below) and a house on the lot. Both are getting painted and they had made a lot of progress. When we have programs here we will use the house for meals, massage, acupuncture and community space and the yoga space for asana and morning meditation.

Here are a few shots of the inside. These are taken with a wide angle lens so it looks a bit bigger than it is but we laid down mats. 40 people will fit with room to spare. Good times.

When you first walk in the door, this is the view.

And when you are look back at the door, this is what you see.

We have a huge space for prop storage as well. So  I am going to outfit the school with chairs for 40, blankets for 40 people to have 3 each, 80 blocks and straps and so on. Just think of the fun we can have!

I am really excited to be able to create a training center like this right here in Central Texas. I will be able to offer a variety of trainings, intensives, immersions and educational courses to help us grow as a community in a down- to-earth, intimate and rigorous setting. The cool thing about San Marcos is that its close to Austin- about 35-45 minutes- but it's low key, relaxing and connected to closely to the life of the river. Its such a great place.

More soon. Off to Tucson.

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