Should we Go with the Flow or Swim against the Tide? By Malti Bhojwani (Hint: Only Dead Fish go with the flow)
In Yoga we aim to unite or integrate the body, the mind, and the spirit and create a balance. In asana and pranayama practice, we observe the flow of energy (prana). Balance is a state that is ever moving, if you look at the Yin and Yang symbol or the concept of Shiv Shakti as an energetic primordial flowing that never ends, you can see that one energy is meaningless without the other. The white can’t exist without the black and the whole cannot be conceptualized without both. Similarly balance should not be confused with stillness, when we balance a clutch and accelerator in a manual car, it is the tiny movement of both, when we balance on a bicycle, it is a slight teetering of left and right. Even in the dancer pose, our muscles are working to coordinate the natural seesawing in order to help keep us from falling.
I keep learning in my life, (as I don on my white belt and use it daily wondering if it will be black when I am put to rest finally), that there is a current and it is always moving, like the escalator of life. Just because you leave a place, a relationship a circumstance, it does not stop and wait for your return, it keeps moving, we are jumping on and off while they it continues in motion.
Some days, you stand politely to the side, satisfied in the deep faith that you will get there eventually, allowing others to rush beside you climbing two steps at a time, and sometimes, you move over to the the right and run up the moving escalator too, oblivious at times of the ones who are standing coolly by the side busying themselves on their smartphones. Then there are the rare times when you run in the opposite direction using all your might.
So the options are not only black or white, go with the flow or swim against the tide. There is a third way which I found after my own sensitivity became heightened through the devoted practice of Hatha yoga, TM Meditation, Homeopathy medicine. The self-development innocently brought a level of purity and cleansing that these practices have been said to bring to many.
I began to be able to sense when a harmonious change of pace became available. This pace is what I call swimming with the flow. There is a time to take action and a time to stay still, just like when we get into an asana, then there is a time for dynamism.
While recently in the 200 hour Yoga Teacher’s Training Course, I discovered just how tight my hamstrings are and that getting into the final pose of many Asanas are still a long way away for me. My guru Dr. Venky Reddy, teased me that it comes from my stubbornness, which I indignantly denied bullishly.
Seeing my hamstrings were not going to release, I took his suggestion and have been practicing a more flexible way of being in my life outside the mat with the hope that I will be able to do a halfway decent Padangusthasana someday and in turn reinforce my own Ontological coaching model of body-emotion and language cohesion. When you can interfere with one, you will successfully alter the others and hence your results.
Flexibility and stability are essential in creating balance. Societies depend on a balance between stability and flexibility. Your values, goals and conviction represent your stability or your trunk. Your willingness to learn, grow, evolve and interact, stem from being flexible and accepting. A boxer too embodies this stability and flexibility at the same time, when he stands strong, but yet can bounce from side to side in the rink. Embody it by visualising the strong stem of a flower or even a tree and yet the dancing petals, branches or leaves.
Now, when I set goals, I am focused and hold high intentions but I remain flexible in the approach or the “how” I get to them. Instead of standing still or going against the tide, I realised there is such a thing as swimming with the current, riding the wave when new opportunities knock.
You will find that when you pursue a strong intention, you may ruffle a few feathers around and affect the equilibrium or homeostasis in your surroundings, and the best way to move forward despite this resistance is to swim forward with the current of positivity. Only dead fish go with the flow.
So when a client has a goal, desire or intention and despite their best efforts and hard work, they feel like there is an undercurrent pulling them 2 steps back each time they try to move forward and they find themselves in fear of the whirlpool sucking their dreams up, I encourage them gently to centre, breathe and refocus on the high intention again and then with fresh perspective and sensitivity, feel the direction of the stream’s flow and ride the wave to swim with it towards their goals. As for my Padangusthasana, I’m practicing patience learning to swim with rather that push into it.
Some nuggets from Malti’s books, “Don’t Think of a Blue Ball” and the upcoming “The Mind Spa”
- Hold a high intention but remain flexible in the way it comes to be, so you can respond to opportunities when they knock.
- Practise being free of resistance. Resistance keeps you blocked and shut down.
- Being too disciplined and structured is not the answer for there is always a place for flexibility.
- Remember that it isn’t all about you, you are a part of this world and in order to get anything, you have to give to the world. You are part of the Universe = YOUniverse
- Understand that when there is an ‘up’ there has to be a ‘down’, and then there is also a ‘mid-air’. We all possess feminine and masculine attributes— and both are needed in order to survive. Doing and allowing are both parts of your growth. ‘Giving’ and ‘Receiving’ are both parts of your journey to manifesting.
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