Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A Pile of Knots: In and Out, Up and Down

I'm approaching the final chapters of my tapestry diary.  Here's a back view of Days 12 and 13:

Again, look what happens when you turn things around:

Those lines across the back become knotted pile, a slow, meticulous rug weaving technique still done by hand in many countries.

Many of you will note that the back view of the pile shows lines which veer from the horizontal.  This is due in part to the fact that I am working on an older warp and tension problems not apparent initially are now making themselves known, but the main problem with the piece is that I am out of practice.  Many of the "flaws" in this little cloth will resolve themselves when I block and finish the tapestry, but, even if they don't, I'm not concerned.  I think of the techniques here like notes on a musical scale.  On their own, they are not particularly lyrical, but we practice scales because we know that doing so will help us when we learn a larger work.  So it is with these diaries or samplers-the more of them we weave, the better our planned pieces are likely to be.

I made this same connection again with my yoga practice yesterday.  Colin stressed the importance of paying attention to what happens in your body with each shift in movement. Rather than working towards a goal (getting up into Pincha Mayurasana), we were to focus on the energy, feeling and attention required for each step of the asana.  In doing so, I discovered that I was able to move a bit beyond what I expected.  By paying attention to what my body was telling me, I didn't suffer the stiffness and pain that can come with repeated arm and shoulder poses.  My asanas were not things of beauty; they didn't have to be.  What mattered is that I took the time to observe and move into my practice, not my pose.

One of the textbooks in yoga teacher training is Erich Schiffmann's Moving Into Stillness. Schiffmann's description of yoga practice is poetic and speaks to what I believe "real yoga" to be:

Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are.  It is also a way of learning to be centered in action so that you always have the clearest perspective on what's happening and are therefore able to respond most appropriately. (p. 4)
Think of your body as a musical instrument, a wind instrument.  Your breath, accordingly, is the wind through the instrument. (p.47)

It is only by constant attention to our practice in whatever we do, be that weaving or musical scales or poses, that we will move our yoga off our mats and into our world. We may not understand the value of each strand of weft, each note in the sequence or each breath in the pose, but each small step in our work will build on the fabric of our Being and we will become Whole.


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