Happy Holidays Yogis… AND NOW THE PRACTICE OF YOGA
Though everyday is a great day to practice yoga, I can’t think of a better time of the year to have more awareness than around the holidays. An opportunity for every yogi to recognize that loose hamstrings, handstands, and double chatturangas are not the ingredients in the yogi recipe that make our lives a peaceful pie. This year, instead of contributing to the method of madness, I have put together something easy for you to whip up the moment your holiday season is interrupted by gluttony, anxiety, and Ocean Spray cranberry sauce…
A common statement I have received since coming home from India is, “you have changed.”
My response, “I hope so.”
Regardless if I would have traveled to India, New York, or Brazil, my human experience on this planet is important to me. When I experience shift, it is imperative that I listen and more important apply it to my life.
I have gone on so many vacations where I wanted to “check out.” Check out, as in pretend my reality at home didn’t exist. Check out of the emails, the relationships that consumed my energy, the expectation I put on myself to do a good job, the hustle, and all of my worries. Only to find that by the end of my vacation I was depressed that it was coming to an end.
I have also gone on vacations with a predetermined mindset, thinking I am supposed to experience a certain thing. Designing an itinerary so packed full of “things I need to see and do” and expecting my accommodations to be exactly as my itinerary says. Essentially setting myself up for disappointment. Robbing myself of an experience that a travel book can’t plan, a guide can’t give, and coming home more exhausted than I was before I left.
Vacation defined is, “an extended period of recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.” Recreation is an activity of enjoyment. In recreation you can also find the word RE-CREATE. In this time we have on earth, we are either growing or shrinking. We miss what is in front of us because of our own limited thoughts. When we are out traveling the world and are easing into letting go of our routine and expectation, we have a chance to learn something about the place we are in and ourselves. Let go and live, dammit.
Here is what I learned in India and / or what India affirmed for me: ...
Artha // is one of the 4 aims of life in Indian philosophy (purushartas); meaning, sense, goal, purpose, essence. Can also mean the pursuit of wealth.
The four aims of the purushartas (aims of life) are Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.
Artha, in my opinion, is where we do the work. Where we learn and recognize the resources we have to pursue our life’s purpose (Dharma). This is the stage that we set resolutions from having poor habits, make commitments from craving change, and take action to incorporate new practices in life to shift our current behavior. ....
“A state of mind and being that exists beyond the limitations of time, space, and individual consciousness.”
Can you imagine the ego having anything to do with limitations to our perspective? Have you ever caught yourself getting stuck in old patterns (samskaras) in times of growth or challenge? I have. Usually it’s from fear of the unknown, maybe scared of what other people may think, unconsciously seeking approval from an external source. Sometimes it’s taken friends, teachers, even strangers to pull me through....
I find myself having to ask this question more and more while teaching. What brings this up isn’t the average monkey-mind distraction, it is an external vibration, a frequency sending you a message…….from your iPhone. Have high tech watches become a new prop in your yoga class? The answer is no. No they have not. (Sadly, teachers, they are not a new teaching tool either)...
Dharma isn’t something you can purchase online or find on the shelves at your nearest Whole Foods. Your life’s purpose is deeply rooted. Dharma is an undeniable desire to be of service to others from the roots of our truest self.
Ask yourself, “How would I like to be contributing to the world?”
It can be overwhelming to think about what our life’s purpose is and sometimes searching too hard can cause stress, anxiety, and potentially drive a more ego driven bus in this journey of life. Listen. Always listen to the universal pulls, your nature, or what I hear most often, “trust your gut.”
At the beginning of a yoga class you may have had the opportunity to set an intention for your practice.
Intention: intent, purpose, aim, or plan
Maybe the intention is something to let go of, cultivate, or bring awareness to in life off of the mat. It is a seed that is planted and needs nurturing breath by breath and moment to moment. We are bringing awareness to the presence of the mind and ultimately creating peace in our mind. Why does your intention have power? [...]