alan little’s weblog

just breathe

19th November 2006 permanent link

Apart from the demise of my laptop in March, another reason for the dormant state of lately is that I have been very busy and having a great time doing The Best Job I Ever Had.

At the start of the year I accepted an offer of an permanent job as technical product manager of the system I was previously working on as a consultant. It worked out well for a while – I had a really good team, interesting projects, and times were good. In the latest company reorganisation, however, my job – whilst retaining its title at least for the time being – looks like being stripped of much of its responsibility and interest.

The situation is nowhere near as bad of the demise of the previous Best Job I Ever Had, ten years ago, when the company I was working for was taken over shortly after the breakup of my first marriage. The beginning of my yoga practice was one of the main things I grabbed onto to keep my head above water through that particular shipwreck. This time round I have stable and happy home life, and still plenty of possibilities at work. Nevertheless, even a minor setback like this still has some important lessons to teach me about what matters in yoga.

While I was having a good time at work I was also enjoying my yoga practice immensely. Hey, I went to Russia and learned some cool new asana tricks. Hey, I more or less spontaneously learned to meditate on my chakras in order to see lights and induce feelings of bliss. This turns out to be both easy and fun, though probably without great cosmic significance. But so what? It’s only when times get a bit harder that you get to find out if yoga really helps.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to treat my setback at work as a chance to contemplate things like The Transient And Illusory Nature Of Material Things and Attachment As The Root Of Suffering – the bits of yoga that actually matter. And today I did a fairly intensive backbending practice – perhaps not the best possible idea in the circumstances. Backbending has a tendency to be emotional-turmoil-inducing at the best of times, let alone at the end of a weekend spent brooding on the Cruelty Of Fate. Even today, though, the peace that comes from just watching the breath going in, watching the breath going out, was there eventually. Even if it was only for the last four or five breaths of a two hour practice, that’s enough.

related entries: Yoga

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