I love this week's passage - particularly the way she understands refraining. Yoga can be frustrating. The more we understand what we are trying to do - what the poses look like, what the breath might feel like, or what a consistent practice could bring - the more difficult it is to not realize that potential. But of course, we never quite do. We are always in the process of becoming, we are halfway between our insecurities and our best imaginings. What refraining gives us is a way to inhabit that space without disconnecting. Instead of abandoning ourselves by wishing we were different or ignoring what we see, we can notice ourselves as imperfect and open our hearts.
When we practice we can notice all the many ways we can improve, but we don’t expect that improvement to happen immediately. We don’t say, well, I will be worthy of mindfulness once my downward dog is perfect. Instead we let the imperfection of be part of our practice by continuing to breath and notice. This opens us to the imperfection of our lives. The idea here is that everything is always flawed, everyone we meet is somewhere in this “in between”, so by learning to breathe in that space, we can learn to receive the world as it is, with accuracy and compassion. We learn to be present with the mess on the mat, because then we can be present with the beautiful mess of the world.