Thursday, March 15, 2012

Eyes of Awe & Compassion

You know the days your body doesn’t feel like your own. Maybe it’s an injury, your menstrual cycle, illness, pregnancy or for no other reason than it just doesn’t feel the same. As I have experienced days like this lately, I have been reminded of the need to look upon myself with the eyes of awe and compassion.

This lesson was given to me in yoga class. My 22-year-old body, steps on the mat and next to me was pregnant gal 2 days before her due date. The morning sun danced on our mats as we flowed gracefully between poses. The instructor guides us into Pigeon Pose. As a first year yoga student, my ego was happy to drop my hips into the pose. The teacher guided us further. We bend our back leg and extend the opposite arm forward. Oh boy, was I challenged. My eager body could not find the pose and my breath… well I am lucky I didn’t pass out. I later realized my challenge was not the pose but the ability to see her body with awe and mine with compassion.

Yoga gives us many opportunities to practice this perspective.  It’s no surprise that in a pose like Shoulderstand we are given the challenge to look at our own bodies with both the eyes of awe and compassion. As our legs fly above our heads, our eyes often find their way to our bellies. Awe and compassion.

We practice yoga on and take it off the mat. My entire experience changes when I take a moment (or many) in my day to pause and be in awe of all that my body is doing then sharing compassion for what has become a challenge or unsettling. Let us take our yogi eyes of awe and compassion into the world, seeing all including ourselves, with these glasses.

With the eyes of awe and compassion - how are you practicing?