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Faith vs.Belief

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Today Pat and Myriam started five days of an early morning intensive.  As my path to Yoga Ed unfolds I realize how important these intensives are.  I also realize how important practice is.  If you want to practice yoga you must practice.  What does that really mean?  Well that means you have to attend everyday for a week, roll out your mat, and you guessed it, Practice.  If you still don’t get it, you have to peel back the layers of yourself, like an onion (yogis peel alot of onions), challenge your beliefs and jump in with Faith.  Today’s theme was exactly that.

Belief -To interpret what arises according to our conditioning.  This results in a closed system in which everything is explained and no new ideas, perspectives, or approaches to life can enter.

Faith- To open to whatever arises, to open to the possibility of not knowing and thus make a place not only for the mystery of life, but for new ideas and perspectives.

Today’s class was a challenge to my belief system.  Pat and Myriam got us to do jump backs and primers for head stand, the two most irritating, aggravating, fearful things in yoga for me.  I have so many beliefs about why I will never be able to do both.  I have closed them off in my head with fear and so much frustration that they actually give me a nervous anxiety when i know a teacher is getting ready to teach them.  If only I knew what days of week we would do them I could find a reason why I couldn’t attend the class.  Today was different, I actually allowed myself to have some faith, a generous gift to myself as I swallowed the fear away.  I was going to be open to whatever arose and be open to the possibility of the YES; I might, I could, I can do this.  I read yesterday in the book, It’s a Long Way to the Floor by David Byck, that if you relax your face when a tough posture comes up and even smile you can relax your fears around it.  So there I was smiling bent over as much as I could and jumping back.  It probably was not the most graceful jump back, but it was a start.

Then we moved on to the wall, I knew it was coming.  “Go into the shortest downward dog with your heals on the baseboard.”  OK, faith don’t fail me now as I walked my feet up the wall.  Then we got into pairs and our partner created a wall for us with their feet on our shoulder blades and we went up again.  Faith, with a capital F was my friend.  I kept reciting, “beginner’s mind” to myself and did it.  One leg at a time, but I did it.  WOW!

We finished the class with the idea that there is also everyday faith with a small f.  To start listening to that stammering voice inside of you.  “What is alive in me?”  “What are my questions?”

All this and we were done by 830am.  Practice.

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