Here in the northeast we’ve had a long transition between spring and summer. After a long, cold, snow filled winter, we’ve lately endured months of grey, wet, cloudy days. I find myself waiting. Waiting for the rain to end. Waiting for summer to start. Waiting to be able to garden, to be outside, to break out my summer shorts…..Waiting. Once I’m deep within that mindset, the now moment no longer exists. It’s like time spent on the tarmac after the plane has pushed off from the gate, but hasn’t been cleared to take flight. It’s like the lame duck period between presidencies or senate sessions. The old hasn’t moved out. The new hasn’t moved in. At these times, being in transition starts to manifest as being stuck in neutral.
In yogic philosophy transition does not mean neutral. The concepts of being fully present, mindful, in the moment, has significance during the in-between times as well. Luckily, there’s plenty of opportunity to practice as there is a lot of life that’s spent in-between.
Transitions can be uncomfortable, especially when we don’t know what’s coming next. We can feel like we’re drifting and disoriented. We just want to get it over with and move on to the next thing. On the mat we learn to be present in the transitions between poses rather than rushing through to the next goal. Bringing awareness and energy to the in between moments of our asana practice significantly increases the balancing and centering benefits of our time on the mat. However, gaining those benefits requires that we not close our eyes and tune out. That we don’t hesitate or rush through. These practices serve us off the mat as well as they do on the mat.
We don’t always know where our path is leading us, especially when we are in between mile parkers. The poet David Whyte wrote “If we think life is always improving, we’re going to miss half of it.” There is opportunity to gain strength on the journey, rather than waiting until we find the man, get the money, or loose the five pounds. However, to gain the knowledge and strength that is available to us, it becomes necessary to not just be all in, all the time, but also in-between.