Finding that inner stillness in practice — whatever your practice
It’s been a crowded few days in our Ashtanga shala.
Apparently, Ashtangis travel to Los Angeles for the Fourth holiday, and not away. Quarters have been tight. Mats have been close. People have been moving about, entering, leaving, heading to the rear of the room for the closing sequence.
It’s been unusually distracting. And it happened right at the point where I’d gotten fed up with my wandering gaze and determined to focus on my dristi. All the distractions have upped that challenge.
Bobbie and I also are continuing to work through our Yatra reading list. The first books have been — broadly speaking — on darshan and the immediate, intimate relationship between the Divine and the individual that is one tenet of Hinduism.
Or, to call it by a different name: Bhatki.
One point that continues to surface as we talk about these readings is our pull toward a meditative, inward, quiet and still notion of this relationship, this Bhatki. Darshan as God looking at you and you looking at God, and nothing else in that moment existing. (The irony, of course, being that at that moment everything exists at its most full and complete.)
Perhaps you see where I’m going with this.
The contrast to what we’re talking about is the big expression of Bhatki, kirtan concerts, crowded singing and dancing — the collective experience of Bhatki.
And so I was struck by this photo, of Krishna Das at the most recent Bhatki Fest in the Midwest.
A comment on the photo talked about how KD is so still in the midst of all the movement. That, right there, is it, right? Whatever it is?
It appears to be an inner stillness; a unity, a communion is happening.
It comes as no great shock that in our asana practice — I think the fact that I’m having to specify different “parts” of my yoga practice is a sign of something — we also seek this same meditative, inward quality. It is what draws us, keeps drawing us, to Ashtanga. It is just the individual and his or her practice.
It’s a seeking for those moments of stillness, for us.
With all the distractions during practice this week, I’ve been having a tough time finding that stillness. KD’s example is a helpful model, and also a reminder that there is stillness to be found even in a big, Bhatki stew.
Posted by Steve