I Don’t Want To Talk About Yoga
As I write this I think, what is this? What am I trying to do here?
This feeling about not wanting to talk about yoga has been living inside of me for some time, but I’ve never really tried to logically understand it. This in itself is strange as I usually try to understand my thoughts and put them in perspective. The fact that I have not been doing this tells me something.
I guess that is what I am trying to do here in this blog; trying to explore this feeling I have about not wanting to talk about yoga. And after all, I think there is no better tool than writing to first find out what you don’t know and then help you learn something.
Perhaps I want to find another way of communicating about yoga, one that doesn’t use the ancient yogic teachings or the modern lingo. Perhaps I would like to help myself be able to help my students see yoga differently and maybe reach some other people who don’t want to talk about yoga.
I may never mention the word yoga here again in fact. I feel I may come close, circling around, spiralling in, spiralling out again and maybe, along the way, finding out how I can communicate about yoga in a way that feels right for me and for my some of my students.
In exploring this here, I may end up writing about books, films, people, art, ideas and maybe even football.
Which brings me to Juan Mata.
I had never watched a football match (soccer to Americans) until I moved in with my now husband, Marcus, who is an Englishman and a lifelong Manchester United fan. I quickly understood the reason it is called The Beautiful Game. I can think of a few reasons why it shouldn’t be called that, but that is a subject for another day perhaps.
Football looks like a living organism when you watch it as a spectator. I’ve never played, but have a real desire to kick a ball around a pitch, to feel a part of that organic movement, a single player knowing exactly where I should be and where everyone else is or know where they will be, moving together towards a common goal, literally.
There are also, of course, the impressive skills of individual players, but it is watching the whole of the team that earns it the title The Beautiful Game. Patterns of play and forms of tactics may be obvious to some fans, to others those structured plays may go unnoticed, but everyone watching will certainly feel the movement of the game.
The fluid transitions of these patterns of play and forms of tactics, allow for the skilled movement of individual players: coming apart, out of formation to do their bit, to fix a mistake, to assist another player, to take advantage of an opportunity for the team and then coming back together in formation. The shifting of the organism, the fluidity, the merging of the individual into the flow of the group, create the game’s beauty.
I think what Juan Mata, part of the current Manchester United team, says here, explains this beauty from a player’s perspective.
“When the game gets crazy, it creates more space. So for me the most important thing is to do what the game asks from you in the moment. You naturally know what is right which is why, even though you have to think about defensive duties and structure, once you’re on the pitch you have to be free in your mind.”
Playing in the space between thought and feeling is how I guess I would describe this. It is interesting to me that there is that literal space on the pitch which Juan Mata speaks of, but there is also that other space; the space that, while you use and hold on to what you know or think you know, like Mata’s defensive duties and structure here, allows you to be able to do what is necessary or right in the moment. It is the place that allows you the flexibility to change, react to the unexpected, correct mistakes and cooperate with other people who are on the pitch with you working towards that common goal. And maybe you learn something while being in that space, that place somewhere between thought and feeling.
I’d like to say a bit more about Juan Mata here. Besides being an amazing creative footballer, he appears to be taking his being part of the living organism that is the MU team beyond that and applying it to the world.
He recently launched a project called Common Goal. The project is attempting to unite the world of footballers to a shared commitment to give back. Players pledge a minimum of 1% of their wages to a collective fund. They allocate those funds to other football charities that make the greatest impact. I can’t help but appreciate Juan Mata’s initiative to contribute to the whole on and off the pitch.