Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air: a raw, foggy day at the beach.

There are times, when my heart feels so heavy, and my body feels so heavy, and my joints so swollen and achy, and my head so foggy and weary, and the skies so grey and shadowed with rain, that even a forward fold, or an Ardha Chandrasana, or especially a backbend, feels impossible. Feels fruitless. Feels frustratingly unavailable, and even more frustratingly unable to soothe or provide any kind of solace.

Those are the moments when I am most grateful for yoga philosophy, because rather than providing some Pollyanna-style perky-ass reminder that "it's all meant to be" or somesuch inadequate topical ointment, it reminds us that: the heaviness will pass. That all things are impermanent; that all experiences, feelings, sensations, whether perceived as good or bad, will pass. Our bodies will pass, our relationships will pass, our frustrations will pass, our swollen joints and heavy heads will pass, even this unseasonably cool rain will pass. And that awareness can be, naturally, alternately (and at once) a grace and a sorrow.

Today, it's a grace. I'm glad to know this shadowy moment will pass. Even if, in the middle of it, it's often hard to really believe.

And in the meantime, it's a helluva lot harder to sit with than any Gomukhasana or any Double Pigeon ever could be. And I guess that's why we practice asana in the first place, eh? So that we can learn to sit, and breathe, and be, in the midst of the heavy, and the rainy, and the difficult, and the swollen.

All things arise,
Suffer change,
And pass away.
This is their nature.

When you know this ...
... you become still.
It is easy.

~ the Ashtavakra Gita


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