Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

Undefined: The Beauty of the In Between

By Healingyoga

I just got back from a walk in my favorite nature preserve. I felt a slight chill in my short sleeves, as it's that beautiful in-between time -- not quite Summer, not quite Fall. I love this indefinable little sweet spot. The place without labels. 

Of course the brain likes labels. The undefined can feel scary. Labeling something gives it form, something we can relate to and understand. The downside is that labeling something also gives it limits. Yet sometimes when there are no labels, possibility can thrive. For a long time, I labeled myself "yoga girl." Some of my friends followed suit. Sure enough, everytime I did something that went beyond that label, things got a bit shaken up. I suppose it can be unsettling when you think you know something only to discover that it's not quite true.

During my yoga girl days, I strongly identified with a certain style of yoga. Going outside of that yoga box didn't seem like an option. As a result, I had a limited view of yoga and therefore, a limited practice. It wasn't until years later that I dropped the label that I felt free to experiment. Rather than "I practice ABC Yoga," it was just me, my movement, and my breath. I was label-free. 

Sure, my brain freaked out a bit about this. It didn't care for its little vacation from labeling and making judgments. While my brain was feeling a bit grumpy about the whole thing, I was a heck of a lot happier. Gone was the rigidity, leaving me with the space to play and experience. Even now I sometimes hesitate to use the word yoga, as that word can carry a lot of baggage for some people. Say the word yoga and assumptions are made -- "Oh, you practice yoga. That must mean that you're a vegetarian/have traveled to India/studied with a guru/sit in meditation for hours/never lose your cool/are seriously flexible/can put your legs behind your head/insert your favorite yoga association here.

Just today I was out on my deck enjoying the in-between weather and practicing yoga in the sun. My neighbor came over and asked me what style of yoga I was practicing. I smiled and nonchalantly said that I was practicing a classical style of yoga. "But what type is it? Isn't it from a certain school of yoga? Who was your teacher?" Yep, fire up the label maker and slap a label on that baby -- the brain demands it!

Maybe I'm now unyoga girl. Or maybe that's just another label, eh (oh boy, this post could go round and round the philosophical circle, couldn't it?)? This morning maybe it wasn't yoga -- it was just a girl on a mat in the sunshine moving in time with her breath. And just as she enjoyed the in-between of the seasons, she enjoyed her undefined practice. Rather than push it to be something, it was allowed to be what it was.

No, labels aren't bad, and I sure do use them myself. But every now and again it sure is refreshing to keep things undefined for a while just to see what comes up. 



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