sigh, eat a cookie, it’s ok
or even lose sleep. just stop comparing yourself to how she looks, or if you do, at least consider the first picture!
and anyway there’s still the live puppy cam.
right round baby right round
On this side of the dateline, we tend to define karma as the apostle Paul did: “Man reaps what he sows.” “What goes around, comes around.”
I’ve always had trouble with the term “karma yoga” as defining good acts, because then you aren’t you still attached to getting only goodness in return? it seems to me you can do anything and still be practicing karma yoga. What if you’re ok with doing something neutral or negative, and with being prepared to experience that same thing some point in the future?
Asking for negative acts to come back to you might even been like saying “bring it” to the universe.
Lately, I am examining karma by being aware of an emotional state I am uncomfortable with, for example, depression, sorrow, anger, or frustration. I drive almost every day, and I often feel “cut off” by someone rushing to their job, home, a bar, their dying grandmother. My heart jumps as the other driver speeds past me and into my lane, my breathing changes, and at least 50% of the time, I find myself reacting in anger. this anger comes from the fear of experiencing an accident.
as i experience this sensation, i imagine that i have done that exact thing to someone before. when i wedge in this stop sign on the road of my own reaction, a mental shift occurs:
1) My negative emotion changes or goes away.
2) I see immediately the universe’s answer to a previous demand from me entitled, “bring it”.
9 times out of 10, i can recall an instance in which i have acted toward someone in exact the way that i am currently uncomfortable with.
hatha 2 moving to thursday nights
i am teaching thursday nights at 8 pm now, hatha 2, right after the 630 pm open hatha class.
i just got off the phone with my husband, who is buying a black winter coat, a coat he does not currently own. the jacket is 40% off its original price, which is a great deal for December. he called to discuss the purchase, and to justify it he said,
“the thing is, i lack [a] black [coat].”
i thought this was a good justification for spending money, and it got me thinking about shopping in general, since many of us will me doing a lot of it in the next 20+ days.
a good way of shopping could be to buy the item only when
1) you want to walk out of the store wearing the item you like/love it so much,
2) you need that specific item because you actually do not have any (or one) of them.
another thing i’ve done today is watch this live puppy cam.
in savasana, there is an excellent opportunity to navel gaze. imagine your thighs–and indeed the bones of the thighs and legs–dropping toward the ground to such a degree that the tops of the thighs feel flat and smooth.
or at least like rolling hills. calm, rolling rounds of earth.
so i thought today of an interpretation of this.
the energetic bodies of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd chakras live in and alongside the tailbone and legs; abdomen; and solar plexus, respectively. their physical properties are those of earth, water, and fire–or earth, oceans/waters, and the sun.
think of using your inner eye and looking down at your own sun, water, and earth–as from the sky–and determining how your own inner planet is doing at that moment. how hot the sun, how turbulent or calm and rhythmic the waters, how stable the ground.
i started this post several weeks ago when i noticed that the amount i was being thanked for adjusting students in class went up.
i didn’t know what to say about it at first, but i’ve decided now that it’s surprising. i want all yoga students to expect to be adjusted, or at least be guided, with as much precision as possible through the poses they do in my class. when i adjust someone’s pose verbally or physically, i consider that part of my job, part of what i’m paid to do.
so, you’re welcome, but sheesh! it’s what you deserve!
breathe in, breathe out, part 1
the first chakra, as carolyn myss likes to describe it, has to do with culture and community. it has to do with where we choose to root for a while, however briefly. the first chakra has the deepest and lowest vibration in the subtle body, and its closest physical analog in the body are the bones, and in the known universe, the earth. so it’s how we connect to the earth around us — not so much globally, but locally.
stress is not gone
yesterday at the end of a private session with a new female client, the woman turned to me from her very first savasana (corpse pose) and said,
so, like, is this not your favorite pose? i mean, are you like the most relaxed person ever? and don’t you do this pose all the time?
i told her yes, savasana is in fact one of my favorite poses, but i don’t do it all the time, and in fact, i said,
when i’m feeling stressed out i’m actually really bad at this pose and sometimes go so far as to avoid it at the end of my practice.
this confused her. she questioned me more on how i could *not* be so totally unstressed as a result of doing yoga.
i told her that it’s not that i”m never stressed anymore–life continues to be life, and to have its natural ebbs and flows. rather, i find myself able to relax more quickly, more precisely, and more deeply.
the greatest advantage of yoga in this context, i told her, is that you begin to witness the coming stress like an arriving storm. just as you put on a raincoat, or get an umbrella, or even stay inside until the storm blows over, you observe yourself in a stressed-out state and access the breath, or do a lengthening pose here and a strengthening pose there.
using these yogic tools helps you move away from the stress response in a way that is difficult to do otherwise.
most important, practice is not at all about doing the poses *better*. it is instead about witnessing the effects the poses have on you more and more clearly.
yoga is one of the world’s main transformative practices of the body and mind.
the body is simple. the mind, on the other hand, has many elements, but its main purpose is to establish pattern as early as possible in order to ensure survival. for example, if every day you forgot how to eat, speak, or sleep, your life would be destructively inefficient.
too much of a good thing, however, is bad. that’s why the first, most potent, and most lasting pattern that nearly all yoga practitioners create for themselves is:
i can’t do that.
I would love all yoga students to check that statement out when they notice it emerging in the mind. the underlying context, the mind’s real statement is:
this is a new thing i’m confronted with, and i don’t understand it. therefore, i am going to stop right here and revert to the pattern of thinking i already know, which creates less immediate stress on me.
(it’s kind of like being in college, when in the freshman eating hall you sit with your dorm mates, class mates, or friends from home. it’s scary to go eat with someone totally new–omg the potential gross digestion from all that stress of talking to someone you’ve never met before!)
the real essence of any yoga class–by definition of it being called a yoga class–is the attempt to evolve, whether that’s through “relaxation,” “working hard,” or “playing your edge.” however the mind defines these terms, these terms are by definition always changing.