Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Beauty on and off the mat

Beautiful. An amazing and beautiful friend and fellow ParaYogi, Nicole, has written this great article full of advice I could use.

These past weeks back to work from the Holidays have seemed miserable, anything but beautiful. Issues with getting the job done well, misunderstandings of what needs to get done, bumpy meditation practice, very little asana practice, dogs that have hit on the road to distraction, a broken arm and little to no time to write. Certainly hasn't seemed beautiful.

And yet last night, I had a meeting with my fellow teachers at 108 Yoga. I looked forward to this meeting with all my heart. I was anxious to get there to sit with beautiful smiling faces and expansive spirits. Laughter and joy. We sit in the freedom of presence that one reaps from a personal practice. It is a comfort to sit with people who practice. They are calm and mindful. We all still have our likes and dislikes, our challenges and our joys. But even in the midst of challenge, there is a sense of freedom from the outcome, or from winning, being right. I am so grateful for this sangha.

This is the real gift of practice. And integrated with practice of the Yamas and Niyamas, asana is a gateway to cultivating mindfulness, a sense of presence. There is no complete mastery of asana, there is only the ongoing practice. The mindfulness is asana opens the door to discernment and cultivating calm. The more disturbing the challenge, the more the foundation of asana practice supports cultivating inner peace and the ability to make the best choice.

As I reflect on Nicole's article, I realize that in all the struggle with work, with dogs, with trying to manage hospitals and work schedules, the beauty lies in the fierce love I feel for all those in my life. The clouds shadowing the beauty grow from a lack of mindfulness and steadiness. My own lack of steady practice. Time to get on my mat.

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