I’ve always had a fascination with the way words are spelled as they align with their meaning. It’s rare I come across a word that doesn’t somehow make sense in the flow of lettering, sound, and intonation as related to its basic meaning. So this idea leads to the word “transitions.” To break it down there are three syllables, several letters, taller ones, shorter ones, and plural. What are transitions? According to Webster, “ A movement, passage, or change from
one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another”. More simply put, a means to change. Therefore, in this particular case and word, my theory works. The word “transitions”, it’s changing, it’s moving forward, it has more than one place to go. And then to further apply its purpose to our life and mat gets deeper yet.
There are several fundamental elements brought to a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. My students spend 6 months studying yoga from every angle related to ethic
s, history, asana, adjustments, class sequencing, assisting, and learning how to best transition from one pose to the next. It’s in the portion of the 200 hour program when transitions are taught and then applied that I notice students fumbling with words and at times blanking out. I can see the searching eyes and paused concentration as they ask themselves how to get from Warrior II to either Chair or Downward Dog? What makes more sense? Which foot do I move first? How do I get them there while time is pressing and my class needs to appear to be flowing. A light panic sets in, the giggles exude and a wonderful teaching opportunity presents itself. These transitions that are taught in Teacher Training are remembered and brought with the student to the mat upon their graduation. Over time, he or she learns the clever and productive ways to lead their own students into sequences that resemble the dancelike gracefulness they were grasping for when learning the whole concept. I watch them teach, I’m proud and they get it! They get it because they’ve practiced and failed. They may have forgotten to do the left side sequence after the right or possibly they forgot a few poses to replicate along the way and it just didn’t feel right. Ask any yoga teacher…”Do you know when you have led a rich, well-balanced class versus a choppy, not-fully-there connecting kind of class?” The immediate answer is always YES!
And in the same way, I think it’s important to understand the power of
transitions in our own life. Whether it’s a transition to a new job, the letting go of an old job, an adjustment to fitting in another person in your life, a release of a relationship that didn’t serve your overall well-being, a relocation, a shift in how we parent our ever-changing teenager, toddler, or recent out-of-the-nest young adult. You get the point, our life is full of transitions. Ones that are recognizable and wanted and others that hit us like an unexpected wave dragging us under until we can find our bearings. We then come up for air, reacquainting ourselves with new vision and learning that this transition, the hard one, is exactly what we needed to keep pressing forward.
Recently I read a fascinating article that pointed to the understanding that our bodies naturally continue to shift consciously and subconsciously every 7 years of our life. The way we view the world, think critically, and relate to others. The author Tony Crisp states “ One of the great paradoxes of our lives are that we constantly go through such enormous and such massive changes every day. Daily we pass through an extraordinary change that we often take so much for granted we miss the wonder of it.” And in this full realization that we transition naturally and then because have to allows for us to begin to slow down and recognize the sheer beauty of it all. How this change, this shift, this transition that was brought us in a way that maybe at first was unwanted is now going to be redeemed in a way that we will later share with others in order to encourage them and further ourselves.
The next time you come to your mat, take a moment to listen to your teachers’
words as he or she leads you from pose to pose. The teacher gives great thought into the sequence of the class and how it resonates with you. Take this same approach to reflect on past and current transitions in your life. Are you allowing the transition to flow or are you blocking its power to clean out deeper corners of your life? Keep moving forward, take each step as it comes and resonate with the words of the poetic Bob Dylan, “you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone. For the times they are a-changin’.