The other night I was invited to a bagpipe concert – my father and sister are both pipers. Going to that concert was the last thing I wanted to do, I mean seriously one hour of just bagpipe music?! I had this fear of having to spend that much time listening to something I wasn’t a huge fan of, but I really wanted to spend time with my family so I went.
I realize that this feeling of apprehension is what some might feel when being asked to go to a yoga class or on a yoga retreat. Without the previous experience of it beforehand the unknown seems fearful, even scary or just down right boring! In the end it is never as bad as it seems and it is an experience and a chance to practice being in the present moment.
Rather than fight how slow the time was going my mom reminded me that it will be okay – everything is already okay. I found myself enjoying the show and the stories that were told throughout about the history of bagpiping. My fear of not knowing what would be happening in the hour of the concert could have kept me at home, but instead I joined in the event and watched the drummers and dancers, and enjoyed the stories.
What struck me at the concert was the intention shown by the pipers and drummers, they were fully in the moment. There were also Highland dancers, who had a few mishaps in their dancing. They practice often and are devoted to their work, but if one person looses focus then everyone falls apart. They are all connected as they dance and all need to be fully present for the intricate patterned dances to come to fruition. This is true in activities like bagpiping and especially in yoga – you must stay fully present and focused throughout your practice. Be it playing Amazing Grace on the pipes or coming into Downward Facing Dog. The presence and intention you bring to those moments are exactly what you get out of them.
At the end of the show the Drum Major opened up to the audience for questions. One of the questions struck me, ‘how long does it take to become a piper?’. The response was ‘7 years a piper makes, but truly it is a lifetime endeavor.’ Which reminded me of yoga, that it is a lifetime endeavor. It is a daily practice and integration into your life. As Patthabi Jois says ‘ practice and all is coming.’
I found at this bagpiping concert that I enjoyed watching others do what they love and I was reminded that embodying yoga or bagpipes is a life long venture. Most of all that you need to experience things before you can judge them. The fear of what might be coming can prevent you from enjoying life. Next time I am invited to a parade or concert I will go in with excitement rather than dread.
So as you read about upcoming events, notice what fears come up around going on a weeklong yoga retreat (Yoga + Wine 2011) or even a two-hour yoga workshop. What is holding you back? Why not go on the trip? You may learn something about yourself and find a little more peace and clam in your life.
Enjoy your summer as it winds down and hope to see you soon!