Transitions are changes, and sometimes changes can be very scary. We want to hold onto certainty, and that might even be the way we do a set of yoga sequences. We can become numb to the intricacies of the present moment as we lose ourselves in thought and just go through the motions, in a type of automatic pilot. How many times have you been driving your car and ended up someplace without remembering the journey? I have. And it’s because I haven’t been present. I’ve either been thinking or worrying about something that already happened, or I’ve been planning or anticipating something in the future.
This can happen in yoga, too, especially through a series of traditional Surya Namaskara A’s or B’s. Here I am on my mat, with strong intentions to be here in my body, breathing in and breathing out, and all of a sudden I’m someplace else, not connected to my body, not in the moment, worrying about a missed opportunity, or planning my to do list, but still moving through the sequence.
Transitions, in yoga, and in life, are an asana in and of themselves, which is why I appreciate Vicki’s classes. Her sequences change frequently so you often don’t know what’s going to come next. Sometimes they can be traditional Sun A’s and sometimes they are her creative, unique blend of asanas strung together through deliberate transitions. She emphasizes the preparation for the transition as an asana in and of itself. If our lives are a series of stories of transition, then why do we focus on these chapters rather than the space between them? Or, how do we trust the uncertainty of the in between time without missing the process of transition?
It reminds me of last winter when I was home alone on a snow day, already imagining what it was going to be like as an empty nester. This fueled that anxious feeling that only comes when we are fretting about the future rather than living in the actual present circumstance. I did that a lot before my youngest left for college last year, missing some of the moments I actually had with her.
Yoga is a practice on the mat that prepares us for our life off the mat. Vicki coached us to stay in the asana for 5 more breaths before transitioning to the next. Being so conscious of the moments in one posture before moving to the next became the practice, and it is a really important one for me to pay attention to as I prepare for my trip.
With such a big change around the corner, I need to make sure I’m still living my life here today, not in constant anticipation and planning for the future. The transition to the journey is just as much the journey as the journey itself. That’s what yoga teaches us. Or more simply, “Be here now.”