'To be or not to be?' This truly is the question, now isn't it?
I have had a lot of brand new students to my classes lately. This is a wonderful thing and brings me incredible joy. It really pushes me to get back into my 'Beginner's Mind' and to try to remember what 'downward facing dog' felt like that first time. Newbies force me to check my languaging; to find more creative ways of leading a posture or breath. Plus there is that bliss of bringing others to the path that has given me so much passion and Love. I have always said that even if I can only bring this passion and Love to one other person, then I have done what God has asked. Hopefully it will be way more than one.
But as a human and an instructor there is an element of newbies that intrigues me. It is the energy of their postures. Rarely do I see a beginner that, as corny and cliche as it sounds, IS a posture. This is something that I usually only see from seasoned students or other Yoga instructors. And I do know how truly corny this does sound. I am one of those folks who thinks a lot of stuff is corny and weird and to 'be the posture' is probably the absolute corniest thing I can say as a teacher.
But there is Truth in it.
You can either DO or BE. You have the choice. Some days I just 'do' but most times, in my Yoga practice at least, I 'be'. On days that I 'do' Yoga, I am usually tired and in a lot of pain. When, in those moments, I am able to give in to the Prana suddenly I will find myself not doing but being. Here is the magic of Yoga. Surrendering to Prana takes a huge leap of faith and trust in the unknown. I mean, what the hell is prana anyway?!? It's the same as asking, "What is electricity?" But you trust that when you flip the switch that the lights will come on. Prana is the same thing. Flip the prana switch and the Light will come on. Maybe it is that unconscious fear of the Light that causes us to just 'do'.... (Hmmm, I'm gonna ponder on that one for a bit...)
'Being a posture' has an energy behind it that is hard to describe but you can see it in a beginner's frame. When an arm is up over the head but is not energized, it looks dead. The energy actually stops where the Prana is stuck. Try this: flex your feet towards your face. Feel the energy in that simple movement? Now let go of the flexion. Feel how the energy 'dies'? This is what I'm referring to. And you may not feel anything at all. That's ok, but this story will seem really weird if that's the case...
Lots of times the do/be shows in the face. The 'do' student often has the uncertain 'deer in the headlights' fear look. When you see the awake student 'being a posture', Light actually radiates from the face. They glow from the inside out. The Prana switch has been flipped on! Jai! (victory!)
So now the question is posed again: To be or not to be? Are you a human doing or a human being? Are you holding the posture or is the posture holding you? Personally, I'd rather be shining Light than not, but that's just me. So I'm going to BE. BE ME!!
Now you decide, for now at least. At some point you may not have a choice. As 'A Course In Miracles' declares, "This is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time."
Do or be?