The Danger of the in-betweens

I read this week that most yoga injuries occur in the transitions. Specifically Mark Stephens, author of “Yoga Sequencing: Designing Transformative Yoga classes,” argued that most injuries happen as one transitions out of a particular asana. While he doesn’t go into the details of why, it stands to reason that many injuries could occur upon the exit of a particular pose (or conversely upon the approach) because in both instances one’s attention isn’t focused on the necessary steps required to lay a solid foundation of support and instead is directed towards the next thing or the ultimate outcome of a given series of actions.

imagesAs I have been thinking about this with regards to my own teaching and personal practice, I realized that the idea that most injuries occur during the transitions could be a perfect analogy for other areas of one’s life. After all, how often do problems of miscommunication occur in the in between moments, when things are no longer fresh, new, and exciting, but instead are more familiar, routine, and seemingly mundane? How often do we find ourselves in the midst of an argument within an intimate relationship because we no longer take the same level of care of ourselves and our partners as we did when things were new and seemingly unexplored territory? What might be the reasoning behind the lack of patience, acceptance, embrace of the present moment? And how can we remind ourselves of the importance of staying alert and mindful to the here and now and everything that presents itself here?

One possibility might be in borrowing the mantra from Judith Lasater in her book “Living Your Yoga.” And the concept is simple, for everything that we attempt, I would like to invite each of you to tell yourselves, “I am doing something very difficult and I appreciate myself for trying it” (p. 28). This mantra Lasater used as a means of instilling courage in the practitioner, however, I feel that it works equally well here when it takes courage to live a life mindfully. When it takes courage to choose to remain alert and responsive to the needs of the present moment instead of falling into mindless habituation or worse anticipated rush to be some place other than here and now, because for some reason we’ve determined that here and now is somehow not good enough.

For the present moment, I would like to invite each of you into a state of mindful alertness. And every time you find yourself attempting to rush through things, repeat to yourself “I am doing something difficult and I appreciate myself for working on it.”