Extreme Opposites

by Joanna D.

I feel I’m in a crisis of faith. A rough week. Questioning my study, or rather, where it sits at the moment. Questioning what it means to hold this whole entity of ashtanga as sacred. The room as sacred. Teaching as sacred. Mind fucked and disconnected, I go back over the possibilities, the alternatives to practice, the idea of giving up. Jesus. Fortunately, that sounded completely horrible, so… that’s definitely not happening.

Protection. No fearing.

Protection. No fearing.

But something still burns inside my being. The kind of fire that scatters my energy around like embers dancing out of an over stoked chimney. An out-cropping that comes around from time to time to shake things up and spin me out. A dive-bomb into doubt. The fear that I don’t add up; won’t amount to anything or that my choices are consistently incorrect. A grasping desire for guidance arises. An intense longing for the steadiness I believe to be required in order to ride it out and reach the center ground unscathed. Or at the very least, not completely insane.


We’ve been talking about this play of opposites. One extreme pitted against the other and the point where they meet creating the center ground. The “junction point.” What a beautiful application for asana, in the body, to attain that glorious kinesthetically aware alignment. The foundation; Sthira, the resolute and changeless. Somehow it seems more frightening, less graspable, when thought of in a deeper sense – the intensity of opposing extremes within the mind – and much more exhausting when thought of as the habitual patterns we play out in our daily lives. The cyclical scene. Frightening because in those two scenarios, the middle ground is not necessarily foundational, or gloriously aligned. At its most simple state, I see this as the shade of gray everyone steps around. The place viewed as death to the exciting, new and surprisingly serendipitous. No one wants that. Complete stability and routinely grounded? Who wants that?

Plenty here to contemplate but does it get me closer to understanding this recent breakdown of faith? Maybe it’s time to examine where I’m doling out my precious supply. Take a look at what it means to have faith. What it means to need something like inspiration, to need hope and to need these things to be provided by something outside of myself. What would it be like to live in a space within where there is no hope, no faith, no need for inspiration? It seems an impossible journey. No way of creating a clean rehabilitation of shraddha. It will never be one thing or one definition. So I’ll find a way to work with it, to create space for it, modify and possibly soften the extremes.

It’s important here to express acknowledgement of the good fortune that’s been presented in my life; the kindness; the guidance; the gift of landing where I am versus where I’ve been and the knowledge that what I know now can never be unknown. Meaning there is no going back. No desire to go back. No intention of bailing, changing horses or “pulling a geographical.”