Monday, September 07, 2009

Parinama

Parinama, in Sanskrit, can be defined as change. A fundamental quality of our existence. Parinama is our constant experience. Yet when it arrives, it seems too frequently an unwelcome and unexpected visitor. What? I have to go through this again?

A little bit of background: in yogic philosophy of the school that I follow, there is purusa and prakrti. Purusa (pronounced pah-roo-sha) is that elemental piece of us that does not change. Some might think of it as the soul, others as an internal light. I explain it to my students in non-sectarian terms as that feeling that you have when you are comfortable in your own skin, at ease, happy, sensing that there is completeness and peacefulness to your experience at that moment. Prakrti (prah-kri-tee) is everything else: our bodies, our minds, our houses, our cars, our relationships, our knitting, our work, our ideas, our emotions. Everything but purusua, that perfect something that is unchanging.
I've been thinking about change quite a lot the last few days. The light is changing from summer sun to that low-lying, cooler, dark-by-dinnertime light of fall. You can feel the change, literally, in the air. Despite a cool, rainy summer, there is something different and specifically autumnal about the crispness and lack of humidity in the air itself. School has started up, people are getting back to routines of work and study, and the future looms huge for many who are struggling to keep a job or find a new one.

Beyond that, I've been thinking this summer about how to take the training that I've done in yoga therapy and develop my therapeutic practice, working one-on-one with students, which I love. This conscious consideration is a big change for me. I tend to be the one in the family who rides on the "it will all work out" mode of behavior. More importantly, it is a big, big change from my response to the end of graduate school in English, when the downturn in the academic market led me away from teaching to other pursuits.

This time I am determined to put my studies to practical use. So I am inventing a website, writing and designing a brochure, learning how to talk about what yoga therapy is and what it has to offer, visiting and sending out cover letters and cold-calling and networking. Lots of changes. Lots of movement. Little stasis. Rare moments of learning curve.

Another change is my decision to discontinue teaching at a second studio in the area. I decided, as I was driving home yesterday, that I am not the right teacher for this group of students. My ego is a bit sore, but, overall, I can realize that it's all right not to be the right teacher for each and every student. I tried, I stuck with it for several months, and now it seems time to try something else. Some of my colleagues would say that I am making space for new opportunities. Perhaps. In any case, I was pleased that I looked at some options, decided that if I cut back on lessons in chanting and studying the Yoga Sutra-s, skip Stitches Midwest, and knit only from the yarn that I own (a relatively small stash of about a laundry basket full of yarn), that I could resign from this class. These are four of my favorite things, but I feel sure that I made the right decision.

And the illustrations for this ramble about change? Felting, of course. You knit something large and unwieldy but beautiful. You throw it into a vat of hot water and lots of movement. You wait. You check for progress. You wait some more. You check again. Even when you think that the felting process is done, you can't be sure, and there's no guarantee that this sodden, floppy piece of wool will ever back into something beautiful. And then, you try to accept the result. Whatever it is, is beautiful. Some would say that whatever it is, is what it was meant to be. Perhaps. What I do know is that two or three years ago, I wouldn't have trusted the messy ends on the back to disappear in the process of felting.












No comments: