Summer 2010: Resistance

There’s a universal phenomenon that occurs for most practitioners at some point in their yogic journey where they eventually encounter resistance. This can manifest physically while in various asanas. But it can just as easily show up in our thought processes while doing yoga, driving, or making dinner, or even while we are engaged in a heated discussion with our loved ones or friends.

Resisistance and the resulting aversion to an unpleasant idea, physical sensation, pain or struggle when it arises is a common response. But if we take the view that our practice of yoga is really a microcosm of a larger picture running parallel to what’s happening on the mat, then we can transform this perceived struggle into an opportunity to go deeper into our practice, in order to observe the wisdom and lesson in the experience we are having.

Flow Yoga draws upon the simplicity and depth that can be found in the ancient text of the Tao te Ching. Allow me to quote from Lao-tzu’s immortal words:

Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.

What I love about the Tao, and this passage in particular, is the acknowledgement of the deeply profound activity of non-action. The mere function of paying attention and observing what is coming up for you at any given moment, but particularly during times of resisistance, can give way to incredible truths and meaning lying just below the surface. So instead of meeting resistance with aversion or conflict, invite it in and see what unfolds.

I recently went for a walk along a riverbed near our home and nature gently reminded me of a lesson we can all turn to in times of resisistance. The water current was moving swiftly that day and bouncing up against several large rocks in the middle of the river. Instead of defying the laws of physics and doing an about face and heading in the opposite direction, or trying to push against the rocks to move them out of the way, the water simply circumnavigated its obstacles and kept on flowing. This is beautifully supported by another passage from the Tao:

Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The large rocks are a metaphor for our resistance and the water is the universal flow that we are inherently bound to, in this great cosmic dance that we signed up for when we came into Being. By supernatural design, the boulders of resistance will eventually erode over time through the constant flow of water moving around it. What a relief and how very refreshing to know that we are exactly where we’re meant to be at any given moment. By taking on the action of merely paying attention and surrendering to what is coming up and saying YES to the universal flow of events, we encounter a deeper awareness of ourselves, our world and each other.

This perspective can best be achieved by focusing our attention on our the third eye at the centre of our forehead, located directly in front of the pineal gland. Once we bring our awareness to this chakra of detached clarity, the veil of illusions lifts, allowing us access through the gateway of our witness consciousness.

During moments of resisistance there is a fundamental choice we all must face. Continue slapping up against the same old obstacles over and over again, yielding the same results, or use these moments as an opportunity for observations and revelations, leading to a more enlightened understanding about our highest Self.

Be Still, Observe, Surrender and let yourself go with the current, following the river which eventually flows to an ocean of Pure Consciousness.

Alexandra Nedergaard
June 1st 2010

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