Thursday, December 8, 2011

practice for life

This morning I had the joy and privilege of an hour to myself.  I took a long shower and spread out my yoga mat in front of the window.  I looked out to the South, the frost on the trees from last nights snow, and I looked at my alter: a small Ganesha, a yellow candle and a few crystals.  I added a cup of fresh coffee to my alter as an offering.

Too often since the little man has been born, my practice has been for 1 or 2 reasons:  to ease my body or to prepare for teaching a class.  The scene this morning was set to invoke inner peace, and I was able to pinpoint an intention for my practice.  It felt good to call out what I want, to put reason behind my movements.  "To cultivate courage", was my heart's request for practice.  I moved through standing poses, back bends, and twists, firing up muscle energy along the way.

After 30 minutes, I sat down on the mat.  I could hear Sly fussing in the next room and pushed myself to end practice.  I stretched out my legs and laid down to actually take Svasana (I always tell my students to never skip this part, and here I am admitting that I regularly skip this part.  These days, I do.  However, I really think I'd benefit greatly from a practice of only Svasana!).  My feet flopped apart and I felt my right toes brush against something.  The coffee cup.  No, I couldn't have knocked it over!  But, yes, Yes I did.

I'm up and dabbing away.  My mind and body, primed and focused from asana move swiftly into clean-up mode.  But my heart was pumping a little faster than I like, and I was feeling quite dumb for ever putting that cup on my floor-alter in the first place.  I assed, acted, and re-assed the situation.  An interruption.  A reminder that practicing Yoga is practicing for life.  Not just the parts of life that are beautiful or that others deem "great" or "worthy".  Yoga practice is for all life.  It's a practice to prepare me for the mundane of cleaning carpets.  Or changing diapers.  Because, right now, that is my life.  I clean up, and check in with my heart.  I feel called to sit back down and rest before tackling my day.  To slow down.  Apparently, part of courage asks us to be slow (to think before I speak), yet not stuck, (act!).  So, I check in and slow it down.  I'm thankful for that moment.

Then, I'm up and on the move again, mat rolled up for the day.  My babe is squirming, refusing a nap.  He rolls over and crawls away when I try to dress him.  He wants to chew on everything that isn't made for chewing.  Do I have the courage to be patient with him?  To change my own routine?

I could go on and on with examples in my life where my yoga practice is put to the test.  Sometimes, it truly is for large and great challenges.  Mostly it's ordinary.  Occasionally, it's ugly.  Here I am, though, with Grace offering me the chance to DO.  To BE yoga.  I am reminded of something I heard in Yoga Teacher Training, a few years ago (I thought this was from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, but looking today I could not find it.  Perhaps, it is just how I heard it then).  The idea I recall is that you (You!  And me, too!) can attain samadhi (enlightenment) simply by surrendering everything to God.  But, if that is just too much, too challenging, then here are these practices (asana, pranayama, meditation, chanting and more) to help.  As simple as surrendering, or as tough as a dedicated practice.  It is both.

This call to BE and DO and LIVE in yoga is at once a practice that puts my mat away and pulls it back out.  Everyday now, I want to pull it out.  With out skipping the stillness of Svasana.  I need to practice to deal with real life.  Because it is tough to find Grace in cleaning up dog poop, but I know Grace is there.  The more I practice, the more I see that that's the real yoga.

Here's to LIVING yoga.  For me, that means making more time on my mat to be better equipped for the "realness" off the mat.

1 comment:

  1. I love hearing about how you work on living your yoga. Beautiful and connecting, too.

    I think the words you mentioned about surrendering might be from the Bhagavad Gita as Krishna talks to Arjuna about the different paths one can take to Him.


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