March 06, 2021

Sutra 2.8: When the Pose Starts

Sadhana Pada: Yoga in Action (Experience the Now)

    2.8 Dukha anusayi dvesah
    • dukha = pain / unhappiness / sorrow
    • anusayi = dwells upon / followed by / resulting in
    • dvesah = aversion / dislike / revulsion

This week is the other side of the coin from last week's sutra (2.7). Last week's sutra talked about letting go of attachment (raga). This week, sutra 2.8, talks about letting go of aversion (dvesa). Now before you do a happy dance celebration thinking that this is going to be awesome (who doesn't want to let go of pain, unhappiness, sorrow, etc), be warned that it isn't quite that easy. In letting go, we want to let go of the DESIRE to be rid of these feelings of pain, unhappiness or sorrow. Our desire to rid ourselves of these things is the very act that is taking us out of the present moment which is where we want to be in our yoga practice and in life. So, it is the desire to be rid of the feelings, NOT the actual feelings of pain, unhappiness or sorrow in the moment that we aim to let go of.

Ever heard a yoga teacher say "the pose starts the moment you want to get out?" I experienced that this week when I was introduced to a new way to experience high lunge pose. Using a cushion, blanket or bolster against the wall, I used my knee to press and anchor in to ensure my thigh was parallel to the floor. You know what I usually don't do in high lunge? Have my thigh parallel to the floor! As I engaged in a different way and was instructed to hold as the teacher continued to talk (for what felt like forever), I became more and more uncomfortable. I wish I could say I was the "good" student and stayed as long as the teacher asked, but I didn't. In this new experience, I came out when the pose started to feel unbearable, but I know realistically I could have stayed a little bit longer. By taking myself out of the present moment and not allowing myself to lean into this discomfort, I robbed myself of the opportunity to learn how to move through temporary distress. I rediscovered that when uneasiness is present, instead of standing in that moment to face it and allowing it to help me expand and grow, I often change my behaviour to avoid it thus limiting my experience of life in the present. It's often easy to avoid discomfort, but this avoidance will rarely lead to lasting peace. Luckily, the beauty of a yoga practice is there will always be another opportunity to try to implement this concept, so that when the challenges and hardships of life appear we are a bit more prepped and ready to put this into practice.

So, your challenge for this week is to lean into discomfort and see how long you can stay present with it. Test it out in an asana practice (actively choose to do poses you don't like, that challenge you or force you to stay . . . like yin yoga), then maybe try testing it out in life (how long can you stay with something you aren't necessarily comfortable doing). Last week we were presented with a quote from the Dalai Lama that would also apply here. "Awareness of impermanence and appreciation of our human potential will give us a sense of urgency that we must use every precious moment." Bad times don't last forever, but it's sometimes these times that show us exactly what we're made of, who we are and how wonderful and amazing that is!      

Sutra 2.8 Aversion is that which dwells upon pain.

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