Unfolding

When I think of the word unfolding it reminds me of origami.

I remember trying the technique with a friend once when I was young, playing with the different coloured papers to make a little crane or a fish. The process required fairly precise instructions from a book, one fold followed by another to create the wings or the tail of the chosen animal. A few times we skipped a step and had to unfold and try again and we reacted to these mistakes by laughing at ourselves and other times we mumbled in frustration. Once we completed the piece it more-or-less appeared like what we had started out to do. There were little creases shown where we’d made mistakes in folding, or the paper was torn on the edge, a little rough around the edges, but beautiful in its own way. I recall being pleased with the work I did and housing the figures on my shelf for many years.

Looking back this process is not far off from the practice of asana. Folding and unfolding ourselves in yoga postures. Working with and around our injuries. Trying a posture, the alignment within it and reacting with laughter, tears, frustration, anger, curiosity, abandon, delight. Our bodies carrying these old scars, hidden memories and some limitations. We learn how to adapt to changes that alter our internal and external environment in postures, and progressively they also seep into our daily lives.

As my body and my practice is adjusted to these ever-changing environments, I am encouraging myself to adapt. Not just adapt, but enjoy the adaptation, enjoy the process of the unknown unfolding.

Asteya

The first day of my yoga training started with students shuffling in one by one, finding a spot to lay our yoga mats down and then decorating the surface of them with various literature and notepads. We slowly began introducing ourselves to our neighbours, learning about our previous educations, where we came from and the history of our yoga practice. After a short while the teachers silenced our chatter and they began reviewing the outline of the course, including expectations and guidelines. One subject they highlighted of ethical importance was a Yama known as Asteya. Asteya is translated from the Yoga Sutras as Non-Stealing and is one of the five Yamas (the do nots) within the Eight Limbs of Yoga. The Yamas and Niyamas are ways of “right living”, representing the commitment to not only ourselves, but towards others as well. The practice of Asteya outlines that one must not steal or have any intention to steal.

We continued to shine another light on the definition now with a focus and discussion on the non-stealing of time. As a group we meet three times a week for a few hours to have an asana practice, lectures, discussions and practice teaching. With an extensive amount of material to cover over a short period we spoke about the importance of arriving to class on time. Since time spent at the training was so valuable it was important to allow ourselves time to find a place in the room, set-up our space and socialize with other students before we began our focus on learning. As I like to say sometimes before class starts; time to land before you begin.

We explored our relationship with time and respecting other’s time and energy during the training. When a student arrives late it disrupts the practice or interrupts the lecture as they enter into the room and find their space within it. Or on the other hand, the class is waiting for the late comers to arrive and reduces the time allotted for the lecture or class. At a glance Asteya appears to be quite simple and obvious, but once we started examining the different ways in which it can be translated and applied, it made for a worthy discussion.