Tag Archives: sutra

Box Tops and Bottle Caps

11 Sep


This month my teacher asked that we think about the yamas and niyamas to support our formation of classes. I found myself especially drawn to aparigraha, which in Sanskrit is non-hoarding or non-coveting. Apraigraha can be taken very literally as piles of things taking up your home or car, but it can also be more subtle. Like spiritual materialism, where you are attached to knowing everything about spirituality, or feeling that you have more worth if you have more “ins” in a spiritual community. Or, it can be intellectual hoarding.

When I was pregnant, I read about 42 books. Thinking that the more I read the more prepared I would be. I did learn some interesting things, but I also missed some key experiences because I was waiting for the ones that appeared in the books to happen. And, on holding my baby for the first time, I realized that nothing could prepare you for the blissful experience of being in the moment and seeing life unfold as it happens.

What are you hoarding? Do you keep that pain in your hips as part of who you are? Are you holding on to outmoded ideas of who you thought you would be? Do you keep yourself from handstands because your butt is too big? Is your house physically or metaphorically filled with boxes of boxtops and bottle caps?

What can you clean out and let go that doesn’t serve you anymore?

Fridays are fun days

24 Aug

The last few days have been tough, no time for such frivolous things as writing or breathing….

After a plane trip with a toddler, a couple glasses of spilled milk, and some QT with my life coach, I am due for some serious self reflection (svadyaya). After about 20 minutes of crying with my coach and wondering why my path in life is support others in attaining their goals and never my own, I just sat in silence for a minute. It is so easy for me to talk to others about these things. I make sense, I have humor, poignant moments of grace, and yet when it comes to myself, I am not even able to see that I am worth my own time.

The YellowBlanket made a comment about my last post and it struck a chord with me. “Sometimes I wonder, though, how we can tell the difference between the things that insult our soul vs. the things that insult our egos? I think it’s extremely important to be able to shake off criticisms and negative feedback, but how do we know what to choose to let IN? How do we allow scathing criticism with those little seeds of truth assist us in developing more wise, more informed, more well rounded self? Without self destructing, that is?”

As I was sitting in silence, I thought about those criticisms that come from the outside and how they are so tiny in comparison to the ones that come from the inside. That all that work and study are so personal, that very few others can be any more specific to what is broken than you are to yourself. That the ones that hit the hardest most often resonate with the hard hits you place on your self every day.

One of the things I love so much about yoga is the insistence on self love and acceptance, the repeated message that all the mindless chatter that you are bombarded with from within and without are complete and total illusion and that the truth of who you are inside is infinite.  My biggest moments of self reflection are around the deep searing personal criticism that I have for myself, whether physical, professional, or emotional.  There is this cool skill mentioned in the Sutras called pratipaksha bhavana, or “practicing the opposite.” It is an opportunity to counter a negative feeling with a positive one.

I am not advocating ignoring the hard stuff or pretending that there are not challenges, but instead suggesting that we sit with it and recognize it for what it is, just stuff, not bad or good, just stuff. And after practicing not reacting, allowing ourselves to see these challenges for what they are, an opportunity to learn, to let go, to grow, to change and be more truly who you are in the next interaction.

I have moments to grow and learn, like 200 times a minute. I have a toddler, he throws things at me, bites, me, and creates scenes in public. I am also pretty hotheaded, I come form a long line of mouthy, bossy ladies who want their opinions known. I practice things day by day, and if I end a day having been able to let several things role of my back and integrated something new into my way of thinking about the world, it’s been a success. My friend Megan says, “when you have a newborn, if you get dressed and take a shower in the same day, it is a success.” Yogic living, I think, is the same way. Baby steps.

It begins

7 Aug

After spending the entire month of July in yoga teacher training, I am more flexible in mind body and spirit and yet I have so many questions about my life path and my point of focus.

I have wanted to be a yoga instructor for most of my life and like so many things I didn’t do it because I was afraid. Because there were obstacles in my path, because I didn’t think it was for people like me. We all have obstacles, mine happen to be 50 extra lbs, 20 years spent pursuing a career path that I am very good at but less than passionate about, and a habit of putting other peoples wants and needs before my own.

It is interesting that today, when attending a class taught by a fellow Summer School Graduate, her intention for the class was kleshas. Of course we talked about klesha in depth during yoga teacher training but it was sitting as a student in front of Lisa that allowed me to really think about how my afflictions had been hold me back for so many years. I had already committed myself to blogging about my path for the next year, but I didn’t know where to start. And, it was so clear when she started to talk. I let these obstacles prevent me from doing the very things in life that would allow me to live most fully. The same way that so many of my friends do. The same way our parents do or our grandparents did. It is an epidemic really, and essentially we let imaginary things distract us from our true selves.

So after I had my AHA, I see light shooting out of Lisa’s ears moment, I thought damn, ok, here is my starting point.

And, so it begins….

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