Transitions…those decisive moments when we can either go forward or go back…
In yoga, transitions are even more important than the yoga pose (asana) itself. A strong, aligned, integrated transition leads to the absolute fullest expression of a pose.
They take focus and courage. Just like life.
Transitions can be scary, unsettling places. They can shake you right to the depths of who you are.
They are those times on the mat and in life that are NECESSARY to get to where you are going. It’s the place that you have to hang out for awhile, whether you want to or not, in order for the next steps and clarity to arrive.
You can quit and go back (literally & figuratively) but in order to get into that next place, you eventually have to go through the transition. There’s no way around it.
Ever heard of liminal time? A friend of mine who happens to be a female minister likens it to those precarious times in life that can either go really, really good or really, really bad. It’s where the Universe holds you for a few breaths to make sure you are right and ready for what’s next.
Liminality comes from the Latin word Limen which means, “a threshold.” How completely appropriate is that???
To me, that threshold is the realm of pure possibility. It’s magic.
Seriously. Look at this photo by artist & photographer Robert Sturman. This man (Todd Leach) is hovering, floating, flying in the air. His feet are up. He is defying gravity. His arms are BENT. He could face plant at any moment.
He is in transition – facing that decisive moment with a most powerful focus. He’s in magic-making mode.
I’m guessing there were more than a few face plants that happened in order for him to get to this state. We don’t get into places like this without doing the hard work – practicing our yoga, crafting our life intentionally…on a daily basis.
This beautiful and inspiring photo might seem to be outside the realm of what’s capable by the normal person. Especially if you are new to yoga.
What I want you to know is this…
YOU can do this. If you choose it.
It’s truly as simple as that.
You choose. You do the work. You get there.
Your transition may not look exactly like this. Yours will be the one that suits you. The one that YOU worked for so it may be a modified version or a more advanced version but it will be just as powerful and beautiful (even if you faceplant).
I had the amazing opportunity to ask Robert Sturman about his own practice…his own life transitions and how the power of focus has changed him.
Here’s our conversation…
How has focus (Drishti) changed your practice/your art? Was it for the better?
“Drishti helps me focus on everything at once in a relaxed manner. It brings me so deep in the present, awakening all of my senses. I think that in creativity, the more relaxed I am, the more creatively aware I am. And when I gaze inwardly, something happens to my state of being. I relax. I cultivate honey and I become enchanted with life.”
Have you faced a transition (in life, on your mat) that was difficult and made you want to go back rather than go forward? If so, how did you get through?
“I have never wanted to go back. The thing about yoga is that it is about moving forward for me. When I unroll my mat, the life I dream of can become a reality. Unrolling my mat symbolizes the intention to remove all that is in the way of my clarity. I am going in, deep within, and I am going to clear out the unnecessary. If I did not get on my mat, then I would have wanted to go back. I did go through a very hard time in my life a few years back. I was in transition like never before. The economy crashed, my marriage ended, my assistant who was a dear friend passed away, and Polaroid (the product I used to do all of my work with at the time) closed their doors. I was wise enough to go to yoga – every day. At the time, in my mind there was absolutely no way I was going to come out of that one. It was dark. But, after who knows how much time – maybe a year. Maybe two – I rose out of it. In my friendships, I stand next to people who are going through what I just described. It gives me the chills to remember the uncertainty. And, it gives others hope to confess that a new man was created.”
What would you like people to know about you and your art?
“My art is so simple. It is an expression of a love and adoration for life. And with the poetic expression of yoga, I see humanity striving to reach its full potential. And this is the story I seek to tell.”
This is Robert…going through his own transition and harnessing the power of focus during the time he mentioned above. Amazing what we can do when we don’t give up and keep moving forward!
You can find more info on Robert Sturman here, www.RobertSturmanStudio.com He is a regular contributor to Positively Positive, MindBodyGreen & Rebelle Society. His been written up in the New York Times, repeatedly, for his work.
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Do you have a special way of dealing with and getting through transitions? Please share it in the comments below!