Yoga Diaries: On Transitions
Often, the most challenging part of the yoga physical practice is transitioning within the flow. It’s not the actual poses themselves, but rather the act of moving between them that requires strength, focus, and, ideally, grace. It’s knowing which muscles to activate, aligning your breath, and harnessing your energy to get from from one shape to another that tests you mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Right now I am in a moment of transition off of my mat. Not only am I mentally adjusting to being done with my qualifying exams and moving into dissertation writing but I am also making plans to leave the apartment that I have lived in for the past three years – the only home that I have known in Los Angeles. While I am excited to live on my own for the first time, this shift does not come without some anxiety. I will miss my roommates. I will miss my neighborhood (which I cannot afford to live in on my own). I will miss my routine – the streets that I walk everyday, the familiar faces that I see in passing, the shops that I frequent, my bus stop. Since deciding to move, I’ve been seeing the value in everything that I’ve, perhaps, taken for granted over the past three years. Aside from the emotional impact, looking for an apartment in Los Angeles is not fun. It’s stressful and often discouraging and seemingly hopeless at times.
More than anything, it’s uncomfortable.
It’s uncomfortable not being able to envision my life one month from now. What will my home look like? What part of the city will I be in? So many questions that I can’t answer. My inability to answer these questions incites a lingering discomfort that I imagine will not go away until the transition is complete and I have settled into this new part of my journey.
This discomfort, this feeling of being unsettled, is not unlike that which I experience as I move through poses. It’s the feeling of my thighs trembling as I launch into Warrior III. It mimics my core tightening as I prepare to hop back into chaturanga. I would liken it to my hands grasping for the floor as I move into half moon, desperately working to establish a stable foundation upon which I can find balance.
This discomfort – this lack of stability – is rooted in fear. Fear of literally not knowing where or how I will land. It is in these moments of transition that trust becomes critical, as it is fear’s greatest kryptonite. Trust in my body. Trust in the universe. Trust in myself and my ability.
These moments of transition, short-lived as they may be, are the moments that allow us to grow. They are moments that require us to suspend our doubts and, sometimes literally, take leaps. They push our boundaries and test our strength in ways that we may not even recognize. They force us to have faith – faith that we’re going to land where we’re supposed to be.