My dear student, Sophie, sent me a vey thoughtful and contemplative email after class, a few weeks back. It was in response to a sequence i taught around the theme of ‘Transitioning’, which was born out of my musings about being a process. I asked Soph if she would send it to me as a blog post so i could have a guest blogger. It felt quite fancy having a guest blogger and i’ve been very much looking forward to sharing this with you so do let me introduce my first guest to this site: the deeply intelligent, endlessly entertaining and magical yogini, Sophie Dourambeis (it took me a long time to check that girl into class with all those vowels to remember). Over to you Soph…
Thoughts on Transitions, by Sophie Dourambeis
I love Spring… and Autumn too, Summer and Winter as well but mainly Spring. The transition period from Winter to Summer holds so much promise, so much hope, so much life.
And so, in reflection of the season, our recent yoga practice has centred around transitions. What ‘transitioning’ means and how we can enhance our practice by focusing on the bits in between as well as the ‘end goal’, the final Asana. In one class, Col asked us to embrace the transition, use it, work with it. And there I was thinking, “Isn’t it all transition?”
I wonder if it’s something about the English language that we often focus on where we are going instead of how we are getting there. When we speak we often talk of the destination without recognising the journey it takes to get there. Whether this is a physical place, an achievement, an attainment or something more abstract such as a feeling, a mindset or head space. Perhaps it is a symptom of modern life that we constantly grasp or strive… it keeps our focus in the future rather than here and now.
But is there anything other than journeying?
I often meditate using imagery of water, it’s what comes natural to me. There is this body of water I travel, it flows into that unique part of consciousness where everything is made of love. There are places where the current looks a bit strong, there are places where the ebb and flow is steady and there are moments of calm and apparent stillness where I can pause along the way. But it is never anything other than a pause. The flow must go on.
Us humans are constantly moving and transitioning. Sometimes we are curious explorers; seeking, searching, finding, observing. Sometimes we are striving to fulfil our needs and desires, perceived or otherwise. Sometimes we are lost; ambling contentedly or desperately seeking an escape route.
Our environments are in constant flux. Our ecosystem changes moment by moment; flowers blossom, trees grow, the composition of the earth beneath our feet changes. Urban areas are developed; New houses are built, old buildings are torn down, roads expand. Our physical bodies transition constantly; cells renew at a rate of millions per second and we can’t even measure how many neurons have fired in your brain by the end of this sentence. The universe is expanding at (as close as we can get it) a rate of 68km/s per megaparsec. That means if there was/is (time and space verb tense conundrum) a galaxy 3.3 million light years away it would be speeding away from us at a rate of 68km per second!
We move and change, not only alongside of it, but as part of this magnificent universal soup. We look to expand our minds, find knowledge, learn new skills, improve at something. Yes, we might have goals or points along the way where we check ourselves out and give an internal salute of ‘yeah baby’ but do we ever really get there? Where is there anyway? Is it somewhere that encourages us to find more? Learn more? Discover more? Something new and other or something old and familiar looked at in a different way.
And if we don’t transition, like a body of a water we stagnate and become heavy and grimy, losing our nourishing, life giving qualities. And start to smell. Worse still, if we resist the flow, like a reed, eventually we break and then we get carried along with the flow anyway and have no control over getting caught in the rapids or pushed down into the undercurrent or stuck on the bank… and that doesn’t sound too good either.
You’ll find me back on this body of water, lovingly crafting a raft with life, embracing the flow.
In Greece they say ‘καλό ταξίδι’ (pronounced ‘kallo taxidthi’) it means ‘good journey’. Enjoy the journey, it could be all there is.