Bikram yoga once saved my life. I got really into it, practicing the 26 postures nearly every day in a 106-degree room, and for an hour and a half my mind stopped. I took advanced courses with Bikram himself. Then, everything changed.
I moved to Hawaii. Without a car, there was little opportunity to go to the nearest studio half an island away. I told this to one of my yoga teachers before I left. She said:
“It’s ok, something new that you need will come to you.”
And it did, in the form of scuba diving.
Scuba diving saved me, too. Dropping beneath the waves into a still presence, moving with the surge, and becoming familiar with a world that I didn’t know to be possible.
Then that changed. Scuba diving was also meant to leave my life in its frequency and intensity after returning to the mainland – I didn’t need it like I used to, but I couldn’t recognize it at the time.
Instead of appreciating how it changed the way I moved through the everyday world, I held onto needing the activity to solidify my identity. I started making expectations and goals and demands – I need to dive at least once a month or twice a year, or something like that. When I hung on, it didn’t make room for change, and it ended up hurting other things instead.
I still carry what yoga and diving gave me. They taught me stillness and beauty, showing me a place to drop down beneath the waves. It doesn’t have to be in the yoga studio, or under the water’s surface – it can be at any moment.
It is not so important for me to force doing these activities anymore, but rather to love them whenever they occasionally pop into my momentary life. It’s one of things I wish I had known earlier, but could never have.
I recently got a job that will take up many of my evenings, including the nights of my coveted meditation classes. There is change again in the air, but now, I can recognize it, and open instead of close to it.
What space, what room, to see what will come next. It’s actually rather exciting.