People who practise yoga spend a lot of time rolling around on the floor. A friend pointed this out to me a few years ago; he’d reluctantly come along to a yoga class, and afterwards he said something like “Yeah…it wasn’t bad, but I think I have better things to do with my time than rolling around on the floor.”
I respect that. I can’t claim that everyone should do yoga, and I don’t think that yoga is the only way to improve the health of body or mind, or to explore the self. For me, it works; but if I committed myself to some other practice with the same tenacity that I commit myself to yoga, something else would probably work too.
But I do think that rolling around on the floor is a really useful way to spend lots of time.
Different schools of yoga teach in different ways; many of them today involve physical postures and movement, and encourage the development of self-practice — practising on your own, at home, without a teacher talking you through a sequence. When you’ve spent some time learning, building your practice, getting to grips with the way your body moves, developing your proprioception, this thing happens.
There’s a day when you start moving your body, and you don’t need to follow a sequence of postures. You don’t need to think about your alignment, or worry about correcting yourself. You don’t need to hold a posture for a particular length of time. You don’t even need postures at all.
You just move.
With no intellectualising, you let yourself move in whatever way feels good. And it makes you feel better.
All of that rolling around on the floor has taught you more than you realised. All of those hours easing your body into unfamiliar positions have helped you to develop an understanding of your muscles and breath and sweat and thoughts which now means that you can let go of the rules and enjoy having a body.
No pressure and no stress and no judgement. Free movement: expressing whatever, holding whatever, stretching whatever, power wherever.
The rolling around on the floor that we do in yoga classes very quietly, gently, slowly, grows this freedom of movement. It unties all the knots that we tie up in our bodies in the rest of our lives, when we’re trying to look a certain way and move a certain way.
And being able to get home from anywhere and get down and roll around on the floor until you feel like you again is worth every minute.