Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

13 March 2006

Yoga

I did yoga this morning for the first time in... I don't even know how long it's been, but I'll tell you right now it's been fucking ages.
Lately I feel as though I'm missing something. It's not society or culture: I think I'm doing pretty well getting my quota of those things, but I feel like something else is missing. (I'm tiptoeing around the word "spiritual" right now because we all know I'm an athiest and I want nothing to do with talk of god and stuff. But I think it is some kind of spirituality that I am missing: perhaps I mean that I am not paying enough attention to my spirit.) Maybe it is as simple as not paying enough attention to my body. Eating well is one thing, but living in my body—breathing deeply, resting on my bones, using my musculature—is something else altogether. And perhaps I have not been spending enough time dwelling on my body, feeling alive in my body.

At any rate, it felt great. And I made a discovery. It's something I was taught in 2002 when I was studying with Judith Koltai and something I should've learned a long time ago, but it dropped in this morning for the first time.

In yoga, we're taught always to choose a point on the floor or on the wall (or sometimes the tip of a finger). We focus on this point to allow everything else to slip away and clear the mind. What Judith taught me (though I didn't learn it until this morning) is that the point on which we focus is not outside us but inside us. Like everything else that is spiritual, the goal is not external but internal. The focal point in yoga is a point outside the body, but that point of focus and my body are one and the same. I bring that point inside of me by focusing on it.

PLUS, the focal point is not just a physical place toward which I am reaching, but a personal goal as well: a metaphor, yes, but the focus is where I'm headed and where I'm headed today in my yoga practice and where I'm headed in my life can be the same place. They are, in fact, the same place, because both goals are a better version of me.