Today, I attended a great workshop combining the Ancient Teaching of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Yoga. I have had an interest in Chinese Medicine for many years and though no expertise, love the concepts of Chinese Five Elements. These days I have become interested in yoga. I admit I have had resistance to yoga – primary because I have interpreted yoga’s emphasis on ‘balance’ as a transcendence of the ‘ugly and messy’ aspects of being human – such being angry, jealous, pissy or proud.
However, I have been practicing more recently with a friend who has helped me get over my own judgments and give it a try. She also happens to be a masterful teacher who is okay with not being a ‘perfect’ yogi.
Today I got that the definition of balance is not some inner peace – no – balance is simply aligning so that flow happens. In our dualistic universe that means movement or energy flow between opposites such as positive/negative, hot/good, perfect/imperfect and even balance/imbalance. There is not one without the other. Yoga is about alignment, which allows the free flow of energy or ‘en-ligten ment‘, or enery flowing at the speed of light. Buddha did have negative thoughts, however, he was aligned so that the energy flowed so fast, there was no internal resistance (i.e. judgment) so no external visable evidence.
So a true ‘yogi’ isn’t without the ugly and messy but is simply aligned and allowing the flow of energy to happen so fast, the experience is quite different.
Now that idea excites me. I think of child that ‘flows’ through emotions rapidly without getting ‘stuck’, one minute crying and another laughing. We come into this physical form with that type of flow and aligning much more gracefully. Then we get more caught up in the dualistic mental constraints and before long our bodies are far from ‘balanced’.
In Chinese Medicine the information is systemic, dynamic and when I was dealing with cancer I discovered the Five Element Model allowed for me to see the patterns and energy flow or lack of energy flow in my life that was contributing to my “stuckness”. The ancient model allowed me to discover a story and way of looking at ‘cancer’ that allowed for unlimited possibilities and engaged my curiosity. I was no longer attached to a ‘cure’ but to discovering how my energy was flowing or not.
Now I see yoga offers a new level of discovery in the realm of alignment which allows increase in the rate of energy flow. I don’t have to be flexible and graceful, perfect and peaceful. I simply need to be willing to practice noticing when I am aligned and when I am not and through that awareness, acknowledgment and acceptance, I can discover an action that allows for greater flow.
In closing I leave you with the quote offered by the day’s instructors:
‘Water that flows does not decay’ . Balance is embracing the dualist universe we live in through aligning and allowing the free flow of all energy.