As I think about the topic of this blog post – “Transformation” – it is a word that has carries a lot of weight. If you look up the word “transformation,” the dictionary says:
A thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance: Its landscape has undergone a radical transformation.
The thesaurus offers these alternatives: change, alteration, mutation, conversion, metamorphosis, transfiguration, transmutation, sea change; revolution, overhaul; remodeling, reshaping, redoing, reconstruction, rebuilding, reorganization, rearrangement, reworking, renewal, revamp, remaking, remake; informal transmogrification, morphing.
In order to change, transform, or evolve, I believe we have to ask the question “where am I?”
There are some obvious answers, like where you live, what color are your eyes etc. But let’s say you have lower back pain and you have heard that doing yoga is a benefit. This isn’t your first class; you have practiced yog
a in the past, but this is your first class in a long time. You step to your mat and the instructor says we are coming to a forward fold and you used to be able to touch your palms comfortably on the floor. Today, years later, you can barely get your hands to touch just below your knees. You hear the instructor say bend your knees to take the pressure off your low back, and you think to yourself, “How did I get so tight?”
That question might be interesting, but it’s not very useful. The more important question is, where do I want to be? To answer that question, you have to know where you are. That may seem like an obvious statement, but we struggle with this on a daily basis. I have heard countless times, “I used to be able to ….” But the fact is, we often transform in ways we don’t want and aren’t even aware of while it is happening. If we pause to ask, “Where am I,” and answer honestly and without judgment, we can discover changes that happened when we weren’t looking.
It is that process of asking questions and honestly answering them that prepares our mind, body and spirit to transform. If I have a student who wants to do a standing balance – say, half moon – but she doesn’t have good balance, we would start by using the wall for support. That’s where she is now; and who she wants to be. Transformation is not about what was; it is about what is.
When we come to our yoga mat or meditation cushion we get to prepare, practice, and transform what is going on in our lives.