When I hear the phrase ‘dropping in’ I often think of surfers grabbing their best wave, but when Zaquia mentioned it in her yoga class it seemed to have a different meaning all the same. Then @yogagirl wrote about how yoga is so much more than an on the mat practice and that hit home, too. Then I had a chat with a friend who maintains a plan to move houses every decade to try out a new space and be as present as possible in her new community and that landed the trilogy. Seems the universe wanted me to see that ‘dropping in’ is far more than finding the sweet spot atop the ocean.
People seem to find it in a variety of spaces. Some on a trail, a meditation cushion, a motorbike ride, a slope, a wave or wherever their own personal zen garden may be. But perhaps there’s more to it than that. Perhaps the main crux of that ‘dropping in’ is to have the skills to do it whenever the frenetic world seems to be flinging a fireball of chaotic nonsense directly at your head. Perhaps, in the last 8 years of my yoga journey, every instructor who ended their class with a message of hope that yoga is found in life off the mat as much as it is on, was right. I have a feeling that that take away is worth its weight in gold.
It’s never easy to carve out that time in the day to make it to the mat, but the aftereffects far outweigh whatever hassle or schedule reroute is necessary. You’ve seen the memes of the gloomy gray colored unicorn pre yoga and the sparkly, happy, rainbow emitting one after – almost every time, it’s true. If we can drop in when we’re there, why do we find it so hard to do so in everyday life?
My world has been a bit more chaotic than usual these past few months and the lessons of yoga have been called into play far more often than before. When I can remember to take a breath and find the gratitude in a situation that seems dreadful – it’s yoga. When I can leave the computer and head out for a walk outside because I know it’ll make me feel better and be more efficient – it’s yoga. When it seems the world is upside down and every little thing is niggling at your sanity and you can take a minute to find patience and a smidgeon of normal – it’s yoga. And when something alters the routine and seems like it will impact your world negatively forever and shifts your frame of consciousness and confidence – it’s yoga that provides the clarity and reminders to pause, take the breath, find the gratitude and remember both perspective and impermanence.
Sure, dropping in is easier to do on my mat or in my hammock when I have a soothing voice to guide my practice, but somehow those elements of yoga and the reminders to ‘drop in’ have an even greater significance off the mat than they do on. How can we channel that pause, that presence and that calm concentration and put it to use in the day to day? How can we remember that although decisions, society, the internet, family, politics and sometimes endless negative insanity seems to be swarming in our direction that change happens, positivity is necessary, mindfulness matters and that what feels like an insurmountable pile of ick might ebb if we can take that pause, remember to breathe and know that although the tumult is palpable it can’t possibly last forever?
This is when dropping in is paramount. This is when those yoga skills show up. It doesn’t matter that you’re not in downward dog, out of your meditative safe space and miles away from the nearest studio. It doesn’t matter that you’re at your office, picking up the kids from school or having negative energy hurled in your every direction. It matters that you can channel it, that you can find the way, that you can remember what it feels like when you stay in the moment, remember that nothing stays the same forever and that as Glinda the Good Witch says ‘ you’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself’.
Whatever works for you to glean those moments of ‘dropping in’, do it. If it’s carrying an essential oil, consciously dreaming of sparkly unicorns, taking five cleansing breaths or knowing that you have the right to remove yourself from a situation that’s not bringing out the best you – do it. To be the best for anyone else, you first have to be the best you. For me, I’m going to do my best to remember Zaquia’s words and practice ‘dropping in’ as much off my mat as I do on. Perhaps what irked me before will bother me a little less. Perhaps words that might have before flung me off kilter and wrecked my afternoon won’t spiral me out of control for as long as they before did. Perhaps I’ll remember that I can say no to an offer that doesn’t seem right for me, or perhaps I’ll ditch the office or the dishes or the chores and head outside for a walk in the sunshine even if it’s only for five minutes.
Find your yoga, channel your ability to ‘drop in’ and find that pause that changes everything. And if your ‘drop in’ happens to involve a white capped wave off the coast of awesome – more power to you. Perhaps we’ll all take the opportunity to find the courage to search for that sweet spot of calm, grace and gratitude more often.