There are times where our life just flows and we take the corners as if we are on rails. No friction or bumps in the road. And there are times where we get out of a bed with a heavy heart and drag our feet through the day. I think it’s safe to say that 99,9% of us find our first yoga class in response to the latter type of day rather than the former. We come to yoga because we want to feel better. Or because we want something more. And it works. Yoga can help us take our “low” into a “high” so to speak. To lead a life with less friction. That desire propels us forward in the practice. Its cool.
And maybe one day we begin to suspect that there is More than wanting more.
New spaces opening in our practice, the “More” with a capital M, is quite often preceded by an experience of friction returning with a vengeance. Deeply rooted patterns repeating themselves enlessly despite everything we learned, irreparable bumps in the road, problems too big for us to soldier through.
In our practice, we often respond to this new situation with a feeling of disenchantment or even disappointment. Maybe you find yourself in your favorite class with your favorite teacher but you are just not feeling it. Maybe your steady self-practice that used to regulate and keep you strong just falls apart. Maybe you are just too busy, too sad, too tired, too bored, too distracted, too angry, too in love (too whatever!) to practice. Maybe yoga just doesn´t do it for you anymore.
The first couple of times this happens to us, we jump straight to fixing the problem. We get our ass in line and boot camp ourselves back to bliss. We seek out new styles of yoga, new teachers, new techniques until we get the magic back. We read books on how to get our spiritual, shit together. It works for a while. But there is More. If we keep going, one day we may just wake up and find that nothing works. No way around the friction.
This is a threshold.
Being with the friction and adversaries of life is a golden opportunity to encounter the “More” of your practice. The unexpected, that which you didn’t order on the welness-menu, that which you couldnt possibly have imagined. Bumpy journeys are a chance to commit and go deeper in our relationship with yoga.
We are all painfully aware that nobody surfs through an entire human life touching only the white foam on the top of every wave. Surfing implies going under, getting up, waiting, flying, failing forward. Life is valley and peak, a steady and unruly stream of creative impermanence, impredictability. But even if we know this, it takes a lifetime of practice to fully appreciate it.
So when yoga no longer works as a romantic affair taking you from low to high, get ready for for the big wave of More. For being intimate with the life you are actually living – for better and for worse. Our failure to fix it, our inability to save the day, our “same old shit” haunting us through life is perhaps nothing but an invitation to fully appreciate this life.
Perhaps, the friction of our life is not only an invitation to get our shit together. The experience of friction could also be an invitation to fall apart. To let go of the modern imperative of constantly having to improve, develop, upgrade and win. To become intimate with who and what you are.
It´s quite simple really: A life with less friction just has friction. But can we fully appreciate that fact, are we ready to life our life not missing a heartbeat?
At some point we may become ready for More. To let go of fighting the lows and clinging to the highs. And perhaps then we can surrender to the totality of life. Bumps and all.