Ever since publishing my first blog post, Departing on my daily practice, I’ve been working to convey the various aspects of my practice that would otherwise go unnoticed. Today, I reverse the discussion. Why you ask? Because the ability to practice without expectation (i.e. ‘unnoticed’) is a wonderful starting point for developing a personalized yoga practice. This time around, I draw inspiration from the acclaimed fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings.
An appreciation of the journey has been a recurring theme of my life as a yoga practitioner, and to a lesser extent as a blogger. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, our protagonist Frodo departs the Shire after midnight with his two traveling companions, making haste under the cover of darkness. We find the same thing in life. The urgency to make a meaningful change would sputter if one draws too much attention to oneself. After all, the alchemy of transforming doubt into resolve is not akin to Gandalf’s magic but rather a Hobbit’s playful stealth.
So often, our quest is not our own choosing. Let me share with you a traveling song from Middle Earth to convey this experience:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet.
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
Pippin says that Frodo’s rhyme “Does not sound altogether encouraging” (p.72). I’m fascinated by his exact impression. After all, it is not easy to cast aside the comforts of Hobbiton in exchange for the trepidation of a journey into uncharted territories. And yet, our ability to exert free will amid the Ringwraiths of our own lives requires this much of us. One needs to be willing to let go of the old ways in order to forge a new path.