Our three day weekend included a very WET and RAINY Labor Day. Our classes all met as usual and many of our intrepid students braved the weather to get on their mat. It started a conversation in one class about “showing up” and what that means. I think showing up means sticking to your practice on the rough (and wet) days. It doesn’t mean nailing a handstand or any other seemingly perfect pose, it just means being present, doing your best, and working with what you have in the moment. It might be sweaty and ugly and even tearful, but it’s REAL. It means getting up and doing that thing that you’d rather not do but have committed to doing. It means effort, and sometimes struggle, but it also leaves you with a sense of contentment and a willingness to accept what is and what you’re able to offer in the moment.
If we give ourselves permission to let go of our expectations it makes it much easier to show up. If we aren’t holding ourselves to the highest standard we can imagine on a day when just getting on our mat – or up – is challenge enough, then we leave room to see what gifts are waiting for us in that space.
Showing up is at the very core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.12 which teaches us that yoga requires abhyasa (steady practice) and vairagya (non-attachment to the outcome). It means we show up. Consistently. Whether it’s raining, or we’re tired or sore, or we have a million other things to do. We still show up. And we let go of any attachment to the outcome – if we expect our best, most beautiful practice then we’re much less likely to get on our met. If we open up to the possibility that it might be a hard day, and that our practice might be more breath work and less asana, then perhaps we’ll be more willing to get on the mat. To get out in the world. This is why it’s called a practice. And sometimes, whether it’s on our mat or out there in the real world, when we show up we surprise ourselves.
We’ll see you on the mat, yogis.