I've gained so much from practicing Yoga in the dark

I've gained so much from practicing Yoga in the dark

I've gained so much from practicing Yoga in the dark

For many of us, there is a strong challenge to not be distracted, to not think that something else should have more attention than the other thing we say we want to do, but never seem to give ourselves the permission to do, because something else seems to demand our attention more. Most of those things are just shite, and rarely more important than our devotion to our own practice, our own health and well being. After all, without that, what is the rest really worth?

I believe this to have been the most conscious winter I've had so far. I feel that my practice has had the most attention and devotion I've ever given it. I feel that I have surrendered to it the deepest I've ever surrendered. And I feel so much more alive and so much more present for it.

And don't get me wrong, I love the early summer morning practices here in England. Light at 4am, always find it so easy to get up and practice as it feels like you get so much more from the day and I feel so alive from it.

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At first it was very strange to be doing yoga in the dark. I'd wake around 6.20am, sit in zazen for whatever time I felt like, then do my yin yoga practice for about 50 minutes. As I was finishing I could sometimes see the faintest beginnings of light on the horizon.

Being in the dark allowed me to surrender to the chaos of my mind, the thing that I have so often been looking for distraction from. And I sat with it, and I allowed myself to experience my body as I was awake to it. Each posture would trigger a different part of my fascia system, and from there different things would come up for me. But as the practices went on, there was more quiet, more stillness, more a sense of dissolving into nothing, being still and warm. It was just such a peaceful place, like feeling safely home.

My monkey mind, which at other times is so full of what I'm doing (and a million other things that I am trying to do, want to do, need to do for work and life), was able to be free and to rest in a way I've never known. 

I would sit in the dark again in the evening, often after some Qigong. It would be my last "activity" before bed, and it would allow me to empty my mind and find that soft voidal space where I could just surrender to the Kosmos and be free.

So as I practiced this morning, the light already touching the horizon as I began, I thought this a good time to reflect on the benefits I've had from being in darkness, shedding the last of the fear I have about that great unknown (as far as I can see). To really experience the joy of surrender to the infinite unknown, the emptiness, the no-thingness. 

It will be interesting to see what that brings as the light continues to progress and rise as the year continues, as I take this new awareness into the spotlight of the sun and see what it illuminates.

I'd love to hear about how you experience the practice of darkness and of the winter, the time of involution.

Love

 

cover photo credit: Andhakara Yoga, The Dark Revolution 

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