By Julia Jonson
For some, going with the flow, being adaptable, and rolling with the punches ostensibly comes easily. As we’ve all experienced, the random and dynamic nature of life makes it impossible to be prepared all of the time in a given moment. Since life will inevitably throw curve balls, adopting a more yielding way of existence does a body and mind good. This takes a lot of practice.
Vinyasa is a term used in postural yoga classes to describe an intelligent way of flowing and linking breath with movement. This concept can be directly applied to our daily lives. The term refers to gradual sequences that unfold with an inherent intelligence and accord. In Sanskrit, the word is derived from nyasa, which means to place, and the prefix vi, meaning in a special way. Vinyasa can also mean wise progression, or an approach that takes practitioners from one point and skillfully moves them to the next. In essence, vinyasa could be viewed as a symbolic metaphor for life. When we practice putting our trust in instinct, garnering wisdom and learning from our experiences, we allow energy to flow more freely so that we may thrive. When we practice on the mat repeatedly, there is opportunity to create healthier habits for ourselves that help to inform how we choose to live. Challenging transitions in class serve to inform us about where and how we need to move towards healing.
It is easy to ruminate over transitions and unavoidable obstacles. This is a major struggle for many of us! A powerful symbol for being adaptable is that of a mountain stream. Even when the stream encounters obstacles, it adjusts effortlessly and keeps flowing forward. If we could better understand the symbolism of moving water, we might notice that complications and transitions feel decidedly less stressful and overwhelming. Yoga requires that we cultivate an awareness that links each action to the next—one breath at a time.
Vinyasa, which is not a style of yoga, but a pattern of flow present in all yoga traditions, is a reminder that constant change is a normal part of our existence. Therefore, moving skillfully and in a wise way on the mat can likely assist in proceeding with prowess, wisdom, and heart in life. Rest assured, we will all get thrown off course over and over, but this also means we get ample opportunity to grow and transform! Spiritual activist Dada Vaswani wrote “sincere practice, makes the impossible possible.” May it ever be so that you embody the free flow of the mountain stream because you’ve chosen to practice being more adaptable.