Being Present Through Transitions

The ‘official’ summer season, as opposed to the calendric summer that still has a few weeks to go, has come to an end. Back to school, back to work, back to whatever we get back to when September arrives.

September is a month of transitions.

The Sanskrit word ‘sandhya’ describes a juncture between one time and another, such as the time in between night and day when the sun begins to lighten the sky from beneath the horizon. The three daily sandhyas – dawn, noon, and dusk – are times when traditional yogis stop for a moment of mantra meditation to reconnect with the overarching spiritual intention of their daily activities.

A sandhya can also be thought of as the time of transition when we are neither here nor there, the in-between stage of moving from where we’ve been to where we’re going.

This can be a very challenging period in our lives because we have let go of the familiar and don’t always know where precisely we’ll end up. It’s a little like circling around the dark side of the moon: there’s bound to be some uncertainty about what lies ahead, about whether your trajectory will really take you to where you planned to go.

In our physical yoga practice, especially in vinyasa yoga, the transitions are a part of the practice. The movements from one pose to another act as a metaphor for transitions in our life off the mat. When we develop the habit of being conscious not only in each pose but in the transition from each posse to the next pose, we develop our ability to be fully present during whatever transitions we may go through in our lives.

Like dawn, noon, and dusk, the movements between poses can act as opportunities to reconnect to the overarching spiritual intention of our practice. And staying fully present in our practice for the whole duration of our practice is the real key to developing an advanced yoga practice.

As often as not, we may experience a moment of disconnection when we begin to move from one pose to another. We think about the pose we’re currently in or the pose we’re moving into but the movement through space-time that takes us from one state of being to the next state of being can easily slip away from our conscious awareness.

So this month I’m going to focus on sandhyas: the time of transition from one state of being to another, the connection point between where we’ve been and where we’re going, and the opportunity sandhyas give us to deepen our connection to our spiritual intention.

Photo by Arnaud Richard on Unsplash

Hari-kirtana

I’m a yoga teacher based in Washington, D.C. and the author of In Search of the Highest Truth: Adventures in Yoga Philosophy. I lead Yoga Teacher Training courses, workshops, and yoga classes. I also serve yoga practitioners as a private instructor and assist yoga teachers in their professional development.

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