Posted by: chibotaichi | June 7, 2012

Does Not Play Well With Others

I have made this observation about myself time and time again: I’m a big fan of solitude.

Not that I don’t enjoy People and having company or good conversation. There is just something about unfettered self-experience that is both fascinating, and miraculously replenishing.

Part of the appeal of a dedicated yoga practice and taiji practice is that both of these offer lots of opportunity, or at least the opportunity to create the opportunity, for that Self-Experience.

Even in a class of 30 people, those moments are available. That’s what it’s all about inso many ways. Finding the Self while immersed in an environment of apparent Otherness. And yes, I get great satisfaction from being a part of the group energy. There is a certain ecstatic sense with that much Intention swirling about. Unity and Community and Samadhi.

I love attending my usual classes for the sake of experiencing the group energy, but what I’ve noticed in recent times especially, but have long been able to see, is that I get very rigid and closed-off when people set up their mat close to mine. And “close” is a relative term, so let’s say “anywhere near me!”

Somewhat peculiar for a yogi to be such an isolationist and lone-wolf. Ultimately, reasonable space is all I seek; enough to know I won’t smack my neighboor with a limb during a twist or a fall. I see photos of workshops and studios where people are situated with no more than two feet between their mats and I shudder at the thought of practicing under such conditions.

I finally have to ask: Am I being unreasonable? Is Ego battling for the fort?

I think there is a level of compromise to be found. I am fortunate to typically practice under conditions where I can have the space I enjoy, and perhaps if I acknowledge That luxury before I step on to the mat it will soften the sting of having to share Space from time to time. At least I’m not in a sardine-can of a studio.

And heck, maybe that is the experience I actually need! Maybe the Fear element is strong in this circumstance of mine. I’m an expert Rationalizer, so it’s possible that my glorification of solitude is just some emotional cover-up or something. Maybe I need to find the most crowded studio I can and squeeze in and brush shoulders with other yogis…

Pretty sure I’m ok without that actually. I like to stretch, to breathe, to be expansive and feel Liberated. I’ve always felt in my Heart that I am more Country than City. I love wide open spaces, not byzantine alleyways; vast horizons, not towering skylines. I appreciate both experiences, but I know which I prefer!

Whether or not there is something I simply need to “get over”, or Ego and Fear to conquer, what I know is that this little quirk of mine provides me with an opportunity to more diligently adhere to my personal practice. It is a chance to hone the discipline that I have historically lacked when practicing at home.

Today I took a 20 minute online class from one of my favorite big-name yoga stars and the experience was so great that I could almost ditch the traditional classroom altogether! But, of course, this would be absurd. I enjoy the People. That’s a huge part of what keeps my coming back.

But now I know that I can’t rely on having my eccentiricities catered to in a public setting. It isn’t the Universe cramping my style, it is the Universe offering me the chance to take even more Time for mySelf and to deepen my practice, rather than just maintain it.

In any case, the Adventure continues…


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