by Nina Rabinowitz, instructor at Bamboomoves Englewood
I was recently teaching a private session with a relatively new student and we found ourselves engaging in the sadhana, (or practice), of bowing 103 times. For those of you that don’t know, bowing is a wonderful practice that can help one overcome the habits of the mind. (We traditionally do 103 because the number one hundred represents completion and three bows are added to represent Heaven, Earth, and Humanity.) However, since it was the student’s first time with this particular version of moving meditation, I wanted to make sure it was done correctly. So, I bowed with my eyes open, watching as we completed this exercise together.
The first thing I noticed was that our bodies were moving very differently, even though we were attempting the same thing. Having bowed many times before, my body was moving swiftly. Her body, on the other hand, didn’t move directly from point A to point B. Rather, she seemed to be making unnecessary stops along the way that weren’t on the planned route. Despite having gotten to the desired destination, her body seemed to be lacking a certain efficiency in getting there. In other words, since my body was used to the exercise, it moved with grace.
Grace is what separates seasoned practitioners from rookies in any activity, be it bowing, yoga asana, or pole vaulting. You can even execute some computer programming gracefully. (I know, I’m a nerd.) Grace often goes hand in hand with beauty. The reason for this is that when something is executed with grace, every detail comes together perfectly, so much so that one finds oneself appreciating the exquisite nature of it all.
Grace is also something you hear about a lot in yoga. You might hear your teacher talk about “the grace of God”. What I mean when I say this is that God (or whatever higher power you believe in) orchestrates our spiritual growth in a way that just seems so perfect, and the universe has brought every detail together in such a way that our experience is just as it needs to be. We need to experience all the pain, all the joy, and every single stop along the way in order to get where we’re going. Nothing that comes our way is extraneous and nothing is missing. And that is the key. Everything is perfect.
May we all recognize that everything we have, everything we experience is because of God’s grace. May this understanding help relieve us from suffering.
Jai jai! Good luck on your spiritual journey!