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August 03, 2016

By Christine Bissonnette

I don’t like feeling like I’m trapped. Two years ago, that’s how every job I got made me feel: trapped. I didn’t like being told how long of a break I could have, or how many hours I had to stay put in one location. That experience of watching the clock and counting the amount of minutes until I was ‘off’… I hated.

There was something about this monotony that made me feel powerless. I couldn’t even imagine an action that would move me from where I was to where I wanted to be. My life felt separated into two distinct categories: time when I was working, and time when I was ‘off’ but dreading the next time that I’d have to be working.

That was the worst part: the distracting dread of being carried to a point of time I’d experienced before. Life felt like a conveyor belt, and every new and familiar hour brought me more of the same. The monotony dulled my imagination. “Have you ever tried to predict a second?” I wrote in one of my most recent poems about love. Yes. I have.

Asked another way: have you ever tried to predict a practice?

This experience happens on the mat too, doesn’t it? New and familiar. It’s so easy to simply do the same sequences over and over again. Check ‘practice’ off the list, and keep moving. Return again tomorrow.

Just keep moving… to be perfectly honest, I’ve usually already started moving before I’ve finished. It’s hard to be where I am even if I want to be there. It’s hard because there are so many other places that I’ll eventually have to be and I’m dreading those moments.

It’s hard to sit in a pose that’s challenging, and not think about, or go, somewhere else.

Is this process really what we mean when we talk about commitment? Is commitment and consistency the same thing? No. I don’t think that’s right. I think that when you’re committed you do become consistent, but just because you’re consistent doesn’t mean that you’re committed.

Just because you’re consistent in experiencing discomfort, doesn’t mean that you’re committed to discovering through discomfort. Because discomfort isn’t the goal, expansion is; growth is.

Consistency is nothing more than a set of actions done over and over again. It’s reliable, but it’s not really pliable. The result of consistency (so often done on autopilot) will always be caged by our expectations, but the result of commitment invites something else into our lives. It invites possibility. A break in the conveyor belt. An opportunity to ask a question. An opportunity to receive an answer.

Our commitments are a reaction to our dreams and our goals, not to the monotony of time already experienced. A true commitment is made with our heart. We act consistently to please someone, but when we embrace true commitment… that’s for us.

So what does all of this have to do with our yoga practice and with our lives?

I think what I’m exploring is a challenge: to approach our routines and sequences with curiosity. There’s value in doing something over and over again, because through that monotony we have an opportunity to discover that monotony is actually a choice. We also have an opportunity to meet the person doing the actions, and become intimate with our own movements, our own breaths, our own decisions.

We can predict a second or we can discover a second, and there’s a huge difference between these two approaches. The latter puts power back in our hands. This personal power, once claimed, reminds that it may feel like we’ve been here before, but we haven’t.

We really haven’t.

What would it feel like to walk onto your mat with this in mind?



Christine Bissonnette

Christine Bissonnette is a writer, spoken word poet and actor. Curious about creativity and the courage it takes to have ideas and to communicate them in an empowered way, she shares her conversations with creatives, personal explorations and spoken word poetry on her site. You can also follow her on Instagram: @ChristineMarthe