Everyday I make the same commute to work. I make the same left-hand turn, stop at the same stop sign, weave through the same lanes. I’ve done it so many times that I don’t really think about the details of the route. I don’t have to look for the street names, I just know where to turn.
When I first started driving to the studio, I had to pay attention to every little thing my GPS said. I barely noticed the trees or what the houses looked like. I took a few wrong turns and had to drive a lot slower than my usual pace. But as I started driving there more and more it became more automatic and less confusing.
Even though my drive is second nature now, I still have to be aware of what’s going on during my drive. I can’t just run through it at the same pace I do at 6am on a weekend when I’m going at 4pm on a weekday. I have to watch for cars in the intersections, I have to slow down when there are brake lights up ahead. If the weather is bad I have to plan accordingly.
I commute to the studio the same way I commute through my yoga practice. When I first started, I had no idea what a Triangle or a Cobra had to do with the position I was trying to put my body into. I stared at the instructor and tried SO HARD to understand what the heck she was talking about. She was giving me exact instructions but my body couldn’t quite make the right turns. I would even sometimes forget to check my fuel gauge and would run out of gas halfway through the practice.
But now I know my yoga. The postures are part of me. I know the movements, I know what the holds feel like, I know the sequence. But just like my commute, I have to be aware of what I’m doing. I can’t just rush into things just like I can’t blindly drive through an intersection. I have to move slowly, feel my body. Sometimes it feels like a traffic jam and I have to be patient and just wait for things to move. Other days I can zip right through smoothly with no snags.
It’s a practice in consciousness and awareness whether it’s yoga or driving or hiking or dishwashing, whether it’s something you’re doing for the first time or the fifteen millionth time. Enjoy it every time.