“…both essence and flow can exist in the same breath.”
– D. Arguetty. (2009). Nourishing the teacher.
Yoga is balance. Yoga is paradox.
Darkness and light.
Movement and stillness.
Grounding and flight.
Today I consider “essence” and “flow” as it pertains to the study of yoga, inspired by a selection in one of the books I’m reading. I learned about Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, speech and creative arts in Hindu mythology, who reflects the principle of balancing essence and flow.
As learners or practitioners of any subject or art, in the beginning, we learn the basics and build a foundation. The essentials. But, the more we practice and the essence becomes a part of us, we begin to evolve, allowing our own creativity to flow. Innovating and allowing our uniqueness to shape the practice.
Roots grow underground in the darkness, but flowers bloom in the light. Our minds grow in the stillness and bodies need to move. To practice the essence is grounding, but in the flow we take flight.
If we move too far from the essence, we’ve lost the art or discipline we practice. If we don’t innovate as we grow, we become stale and stagnant.
Yesterday, in the darkness and cold of a power outage, I wrote a sequence inspired by mountains. It begins with a standing pranayama presumably at night with a rising crescent moon. Sun A emerges in the middle of the sequence. The sequence is mostly grounding, but from the roots, there are opportunities for flight. Near the end a waterfall replenishes the body, mind and heart, melting into savasana, as the benefits of the practice seep in.
As you read, you may be thinking, I hear a lot that is familiar, and you do. It’s the essence. But, in the order of sequence itself is the flow.
As a teacher, I must always be mindful that “my” class belongs to the students. If there are 10 students, then there are 10 different classes. One on each mat at the intersection of what I share and what each student brings to the experience. I’m hoping that each intersection is a beautiful destination.
One more thing…
Notice I wrote this sequence yesterday, before today’s reading. In that order, I had the opportunity to learn in “the early childhood way” of having the experience first and making the meaning after.
As a “baby yoga teacher,” I suppose that is how it should be. Now off to practice and polish the sequence and prepare this gift for the students.
To learn more about Saraswati enjoy this article, which includes a short video.
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