To paraphrase the great German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, it’s what moves us that really matters. And still, we so often get preoccupied with the ‘how’.
Because the ‘What moves you?’ question is complicated, personal, political, poetical, elusive, mystical, out of the scope…you name it. It is much easier and safer to engage with the form alone.
I saw this tendency in music when I was a classical musician, and I’m seeing it in the yoga and meditation world, as well.
Form without the substance.
I don’t know about you, but for me, the form alone tends to become empty and insufficient after a while. A nice place to hide from the complicated and intense world out there, but also a bit boring.
And when I notice I’m hiding there, I need to step away from concentrating on the form alone and look into all the things that move me. My inner stuff, but also outer forces and systems that position me in a certain way in the world.
All that is relevant for yoga and meditation practice and it can be a part of yoga teaching profession if we choose so.
What’s holding you back?
When I was preparing my first online mentoring program earlier this year, I noticed that, while I was totally confident to talk about evidence based stuff, data and facts, I was much more reluctant to show more of myself, my own insights and inquiries from 20 years of practice and studies of yoga. Was I using science to hide behind it?
Evidence and facts are important as a departure point, but they are not a goal in itself when it comes to yoga practice (or any artistic practice!).
As a classical musician, I spent hours, months and years to practice and reach excellence in my technique. But even the most brilliant technique becomes empty and unexciting after a while if it is not a tool for creativity and expression.
So to refer to the questions from the beginning of this article: What moves us, beyond muscles, connective tissue, breath, nervous system? Dare we ask ourselves that question and leap into an inquiry that utilizes the form to go beyond the form?
Lessons from the meditation posture
If you ever seriously attempted to meditate in a cross legged position, you’ve probably realized very soon that settling in a meditation posture with stability and ease is not about the outer form at all.
While proper alignment provides us with stability and ease that allows us to relax the body (and there is no meditation without relaxation), we can never ‘get there’ by aligning the body from the outer perspective of how it looks like or how things should fall into place anatomically and intelectually.
Something else is needed to fully relax and settle in our animal body in meditation – an inner, intimate process of inquiry and transformation that softens us where we need to be soft and strengthens us where we need to stay strong.
And while spiritual teaching, or Dharma, provide us with a map, the journey is ours to undertake. How the landscape will unfold in our experience, where are we going to encounter roadblocks and where we’ll have a smooth ride, depends on our history, disposition and energy invested in the process.
8 Worldly Winds
A Buddhist teaching called 8 Worldly Winds or 8 Worldly Concerns, presented in the Lokavipatti Sutta, proposes us to check if we’re moved by the currents of praise and blame, success and failure, pleasure and pain, and fame and anonymity.
Juggling our daily lives and work, we are immersed in the world that is defined by these concerns. In order to be happy, we are told from early on that we should chase success, pleasure, recognition and praise, and in case we experience failure, shame, pain and anonymity, we’ll be unhappy human beings.
Well, who in life does not experience all of these states sooner or later? Everything changes and once the good fortune turns around, are we going to be caught up and blown away by it or are we going to be able to adapt and dance with it?
Perhaps even turning it into something creative!
So these are my current movement musings.
What moves you? Share yours in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.