Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rules to Live By

As the summer moves closer to fall and there are some potentially some tough decisions to be made, I find myself remembering these words daily. It is challenging when we feel pushed in directions we are not yet prepared to go. And yet, it is really the only way to live with integrity. I have to admit, I am not always doing the best that I can, nor am I always open in my communication, and I certainly have been known to take a few things personally. But at the very least my intention is not to harming myself or others. That should perhaps be the fifth rule to live by.

Monday, July 14, 2014

In the grey

I recall many years ago a conversation with someone who said, "the world is not just black or white, there is grey in-between." That quote came back to me this morning after watching this video:

I feel that one of the many gifts of Yoga is that it teaches how to live in the grey. We think of ourselves as perfect or imperfect, tall or short, good looking or not, male or female, black or white. But in truth, we are both. When I look in the mirror, I often can look with judgement at my face, the fine lines, the freckles, the redness of my nose. And sometimes I look and feel it doesn't look so bad. What makes the difference is not my age or whether I am wearing make up. What makes the difference is how I feel. When I am arrive at the mirror feeling content, peaceful, I know I have beauty that is skin deep. When I arrive feeling sad or lonely, I see the flaws. It is as if a laser beam shines on each flaw.

To be sure, there are societal pressures, and it is our responsibility to determine how much of it we carry. When we eat poorly, sleep poorly, watch TV shows whose plot is to exacerbate the weight of flaws around us, when we sit in a chair and don't get up and move, life seems very depressing. What are we living for anyway? We carry this momentum into each experience and it is the dull fray lens through which we decide what the world looks like. Conversely, when we move the body and get the heart rate up, we play, we eat healthy food, we enjoy nature around us, we see love between two people, we take that momentum into the next experience, viewing it through rose coloured lenses and everything seems brighter.

Even if the experience is the same.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Stillness and steadiness

Five days of paddle boarding, kayaking, mountain biking and climbing. Each of the last few days, I did not do asana practice. I did spend those days getting into my body. And if I were to speak of it on a physical level, the physical benefits of all that fun is no different than the benefits of an asana practice or two. In fact, the three hours paddling, and swimming, might have even been better.

Each morning I would awake and attempt to do my morning meditation practice. And each morning I was distracted by the sounds of nature, the droplets falling from the leaves, the birds chirping or the other campers slowly arising. My mind would wander from the practice and I would attempt to draw it back to my mantra, the stillness I was attempting to rest in.

It is this lack of stillness that I cannot get from paddle boarding, from kayaking, climbing or mountain biking. It is the sukham and sthira; the steadiness and stillness that I cultivate in my asana practice, that enables me to sit and hear the whispers of my heart.