Serves me right!
Right after my post about rockstar classes--the audacity with which I spoke of driving the yoga truck--I was back to my normal ho-hum yoga classes: painful standing series, temptation to sit out Triangle and/or the next posture, and an overwhelming desire to leave the room during spine series. The anticipation (and, admittedly, anxiety) of travel and the changes it brings have hit.
"What's the use?" I whined during a particularly growly class. Our bodies are borrowed. Each time we look in the mirror, we're older. We're all marching steadily toward the grave, funeral pyre, etc. Why bother struggling and straining as we do in yoga?
I feel like an uber-nerd mentioning Insight Meditation teacher Jack Kornfield again, but I've just gotta. He addresses the question that I'm posing quite beautifully in an article of his. In honor of Oprah's farewell, I allow myself to say, I had a total "Aha" moment.
Kornfield writes of a meditation student so full of anger and judgment at the other students. At just the moment the student was about to leave the retreat from frustration, he ever-so-faintly noticed that he had the ability to see the connection between the physical manifestations of anger (tightness, shortness of breath) and his thoughts toward the students that were pissing him off. This realization was enough to keep him at the retreat. "He realized that his body had become a mirror," Kornfield writes, "and that his mindfulness was showing him when he was caught and where he could let go."
There's not really much more to say here. I think that most of us who practice yoga are comfortable with the idea that the body manifests its emotional traumas. As one of my teachers recently mentioned during class: "I have a very tight hip. When I was little, something happened, and my hip contracted." She had no need to elaborate further--those two sentences spoke volumes. That tight hip is her bodily reflection of whatever pain (emotional, I assume) she experienced as a child.
So... what's the point? "Aha!" There are a lot of good answers to that question.
If you're interested in reading the (pretty awesome) Kornfield article, you can check it out here at the Shambhala Sun.