Yoga Paradox: Dropping Keys

This morning’s 6:15 power hour class was lovely. It always is to me, but this week I feel I should have paid the students to teach them, as I’ve left classes a much more fulfilled person than when I arrived. (Of course, little about me would use the word fulfilled at any time of day prior to 7:00 a.m., but that’s another issue altogether.) I write this because the themes for this week’s classes have been items I have been needing to hear. And hopefully, students benefited as well.

An earlier week's class theme was about seasons of winter in our lives. We are all rather weary of the cold weather, recent week of inboundness and dreary skies. But we also experience wintery seasons of discontent and sadness, and they can strip us of our energy and enthusiasm for life. I spoke of physical movement directly impacting our emotional states and congratulated students for coming to class first thing in their day.

Class ended with the poem "Anyway" from Mother Teresa which I’ll paraphrase as:  no matter how you are feeling, continue doing your best. Your life’s purpose culminates in what you offer back.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered; Forgive them anyway.
you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway. T
he good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

But as if M. Teresa wasn’t inspiration enough, these students pressed me forward to continue seeking.

Today’s class, the theme was about yoga paradoxes. How in our poses, opposing forces of energy bring us into a fuller expression of the posture.

In Warrior One, your fingers are reaching towards the heavens while your shoulders draw down the back. Both ends of the arms stretching in opposite directions grow you long. You can’t really grow your arms, but the paradox is that you feel taller, more upright through these stretching endeavors. You grow emotionally in stature, strength and Source by these moves.

In all standing postures you have to root down before you rise up. The firm foundation you must first create is vital to bloom. It doesn’t sound accurate to concentrate on a grounding aspect in order to lift. But you must.

Today class culminated  with a reading that I felt sounded paradoxical. You hear the verb “building” and you think of making things, creating, growing. You hear the verb “dropping” you think of a mistake, a fumble, an oops. Not always so. This reading is a short poem from the ancient poet Hafiz:

The small woman
builds cages for everyone she knows.
While the sage,

who has to duck her head
when the moon is low,
keeps dropping keys all night long.

Paradox genius.

Who will I be in this season of winter? A crabby, self-absorbed nag of a woman, or will I drop keys to free myself and others?

f I listen to my own teachings this week, I must be kind and compassionate because that is the reason I am here on this earth. And I must embrace life’s paradoxes.

Because they can be beautiful. And there is much to learn.

Stephanie Greene