Thoughts on Transitions

By Mitten Wainwright, September, 2009

Life is constant transitions as we flow with Grace and live our lives to the fullest.  We are born as our first transition into this body and leave it as our last.

In between, our body changes with each breath.  Over seven years time we transform into a totally new physical body.  Our cells have totally replaced themselves and yet we are still the same person.

Each breath we take is unique and yet each one is based on the one before and is preparation for the next, an unstoppable and endless flow.  We inhale pranic energy and grow organically as we exhale.  Each breath carries us as we move with the rhythm of change, a constant and joyful development.

Each morning we transition and wake to a new day, complete with many possibilities for change, and each night we release ourselves to the growth that occurs with sleep.  We wake up taller each morning than when we went to bed as our spinal discs replenish themselves during the night.  Nature works to renew and change us even while we rest.

We celebrate birthdays to mark our annual transition and passage to a new age.  When we were children, we looked forward excitedly to that aging process.  Perhaps less so now that we blow out more candles on the cake.  Some Birthdays infer legal status; at 18 we can vote and at 65 receive Medicare.  These mark us as having become an adult or perhaps a senior citizen.  Others have a more psychological weight; 30, 50 and 80 may seem awesome, dreadful or a cause for celebration. Each age may change our outlook on life.

Sometimes events occur which force transitions on us and other times we have the ability to choose the road we take.  Either way, we can adapt ourselves and advance into a new stage of being.  When we open to the greater forces and energies around us these changes may become smoother and more graceful.  We ground ourselves in our experience and knowledge and then modify and shift into the next phase of our travel down the path.

Just as we move through life, we move through a sequence of asanas as we practice yoga on our mats.  Whether it is our own practice and we can choose which pose comes next or whether it is a set series dictated by a teacher or a style of yoga, there is still the need for a mindful transition between poses.  On the mat we note our progress as we master new asanas, but too often don’t take the time to focus on the fluidity as we release from one pose and prepare for the next. The grounding of the foot, the careful realignment and the graceful movement with the breath as we shift from Virabhadrasana II (Warrior 2) to Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon) is just as beautiful to the body as the shining out of the full pose.  Without the care in the transition, we would never feel the radiant glory of the final pose. When we rush from pose to pose we often lose the beauty and the grace of the asana practice.

When we learn to transition and unfold in our lives off the mat with the same care that enriches our physical practice on the mat, we will bring more beauty, harmony and joy into our lives and the lives of those around us.

Mitten Wainwright

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