Be Still- By Cheryl Westbrook

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining, is let it rain.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As I tried to rest in a yoga pose this morning, I noticed just how unprepared I was to just simply be and breathe. I was a drum with muscles tense and tight. My mind was cluttered and racing. My body was fidgety and uncomfortable. My breath was shallow and erratic. Thoughts were hammering my consciousness with judgment and frustration.

Why can’t I just be still?

And then it occurred to me that the moment was there before me for the very purpose I was fighting against. I needed to notice it all—my muscles, my mind, my body, my breath, my thoughts. It wasn’t a bad yoga moment . . . it was a perfect yoga moment if I just let it be– free of judgment, full of awareness.

I learned in that moment that yoga is like science. Scientists approach their study with hypotheses and then proceed down a path equipped with some prior knowledge, but the outcome is unknown… the process is a flow, with no guarantee of how it will unfold.

At one time our predecessors believed—science proved—the world was flat. And then it wasn’t flat, it was round—because science again proved it to be so. Science never ends. The study never ends.

My frustration in that yoga class was my greatest teacher. I need not be frustrated with the process. I need to rest in it. Be still in it. Accept it for all that it is and brings forth. Notice the tension. Notice the breath. Notice the thoughts. Notice the feelings. And then simply be a spectator with no attachment to any of it. I slowly began to quiet my mind, focus on my thoughts and then let them go. I began to accept each muscle in my body – the aches, the tension—and flood those spaces with a healing breath. I listened to my heartbeat and smiled at the work it was doing for my body. I relaxed into the meditative pose. In that time I felt the circularity of it all and I was the epicenter: quiet, calm, still.