Everything Flows Onward

finding my dharma. living my dharma.

What I Bring to the Mat and Christmas,t oo. December 24, 2008

Filed under: Christmas,Energy,self-discovery,yoga — Jenny @ 5:17 pm

So, I was taking a jaunt around Yoga Journal’s Community page as I do more and more often these days (it’s like facebook but for yogis, don’t ya know!) and I happened upon someone who posted a blog about what he brings to his yoga mat each day. It was really moving to read and I think that it’s definitely something we all ought to think about for ourselves.

What do we, individually as yogis and yoginis, bring to the mat? Yes, yoga is about union and about letting go of the ego, but like we say and I’ve said before, it has to start within. So I think it’s important for all of us yogis to highlight what it is that we bring to the mat, to our practice, to our community. I think it would be neat if this started a chain (and we can all credit sat-nam for being the inspiration). In that spirit, I’m going to go ahead and go next:

When I step on my mat, I bring with me a girl who is only beginning to learn and live life. I bring a girl who is healing from mental wounds, self-inflicted. I bring a girl who was lost in the world and who punished herself for it. I bring fear. But I bring courage, too. I bring a yearning and willingness to let go of the past. I bring a girl who has only begun to taste true freedom. I bring a girl who knows deep down that she is beautiful and worthy of the good in life. I bring persistence in my quest. I bring a girl who is resolved to never give up on herself again.

I bring intellect, thoughtfulness and insight. I bring a mind that has faith in a power outside myself and longs to be united with it. I bring a heart that continues to open. I bring a desire for peace, inside myself and out. I bring compassion.

On my mat, I am a student of life who is no longer reluctant. I am inquisitive. I ask for help when help is needed. I am a girl who is learning to release her pride. My mind and heart are sponges. I am a leader too. I bring a dream of helping others like me to find peace. I bring a message to everyone so they may know they deserve peace.

I express myself with the suppleness that comes from youth and am grateful for the opportunity to grow and mature. I begin to express myself without fear. I learn to stay true to myself. I bring awe inspired by the beauty of life. I bring appreciation for my fellow yogis and yoginis. I relish in the energy we create.

And I try with my whole being to bring mindfulness to my mat. To live in this moment and to know that this moment is perfect. I bring the gentle reminder that there is no fight to survive. Everything is as it should be in this very moment and so everything is perfect. I bring an inner light that glows brighter the longer I practice and reaches out to the world.

When I come to my mat and I sit down, I imagine myself as a child sitting down for story time. I am the Earth’s child, eager to hear Her story and beside myself with joy to learn that I, that we, are Her story.

When I am on my mat, and I am in this place in me, and you are in this place in you, we are one. When I come to my mat, I cease to exist as an individual and I am home.

Namaste.

~~~~~~~~~~~

So there was that. I’m separating that from this bottom bit because the top part was really for my YJ Blog, but I thought I’d share it here too.

In other news… You ought to have seen the look on my mom’s face when I asked her if we could all go to Midnight Mass tonight. It’s very un-me to want to do anything related to organized religion, but as I was driving in from Evansville and I was listening to one of my favorite religious Christmas songs (“Mary’s Boychild,” if you cared to know…), I got a nudge from outside myself to attend Midnight Mass. In my quest to reach the Energy outside of myself, I understood from this sudden urge that if I keep my heart open to it, this is the right place for me to be tonight. Where better to go to honor peace and love in this world? Maybe Catholicism has ceased to be the way for me, but I feel on this Christmas eve that there is a phenomenal energy buzzing through the land and I need to be there for it.

 

Fear- the extended version December 19, 2008

Filed under: fear,self-discovery,yoga — Jenny @ 2:14 am

So today I had a lot of pent up energy and I felt a little scattered and spastic. Then when I was at yoga, laying in relaxation after our practice and it hit me what that energy was that was coursing through my veins: fear.

I don’t have a lot of deep revelations about fear or anything really insightful to say about it. I actually just want to air my fears. I’m looking at it this way: I’m going to lay them out there, say them to you, say them to myself and then I’m going to practice letting go of them. I’m going to practice confidence in myself and I’m going to practice trust in myself. I was laying there at the end of class today, trying my best and, I’ll admit, struggling to relax and let idle thoughts pass me by, recognizing them with out judgment and just letting them go right out of my mind again, to be attended to later. Somewhere in there it dawned on me that of all the people in all the world, it often happens that I am the person I trust the least. Sometimes when I am about to embark on a new journey and a new experience, before the time comes to take action, I will doubt myself and my abilities. Sometimes I don’t trust that I can be a leader.

Okay, I’ll stop being ambiguous. The time for me to begin teaching yoga is drawing nigh and I’m scared. I did a home practice recently and while it was good and fine… it didn’t feel the same as when I’m being led by a teacher. When you go to a yoga class, you do the yoga that is right for you but in the style of the teacher. I was at home and it occurred to me that I don’t know what my personal yoga style is. So I’m slowly discovering it; I won’t fully know until I do more practices on my own. It’s exciting, absolutely, but it’s also scary. It’s like starting all over from the beginning. So then I got nervous about leading a class when I’m not even sure what my style is. And what if my style doesn’t suit the students? What if people leave my class without a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment? How can I possibly ever be as effective a teacher as the ones I look up to so much?

You see where this is/was going? I say is/was because in relaxation tonight I felt a release. I still need to really, really, really let go of these fears. I must practice with resolve my ability to recognize that I am not those fears and they will not rule me. Recognizing the source of my feelings and my fears today felt like the first huge leap to letting them go. My yoga is a budding lotus flower. It is growing and blossoming. With practice and time, I will become comfortable in my style. It might be different than what people at our studio are used to. I’m not Chris. I’m not Andrew. No one expects me to be them. Yoga is inherently “perfect,” when practiced mindfully and with intent, it can never be wrong. In such a way, we will always receive something we need in each of our practices.

Also, I need to take the teachers off the pedestal I’ve put them on. They have opened their arms to me as a peer. The saying goes that it is only when we achieve non-attachment that we are free and equal. So then, only by detaching myself from the notion that these people are somehow greater than me (physically, spiritually, emotionally), can I become their equal. It’s so simple yet I continue to see this theme and a struggle in my life. (Who doesn’t though, really?)

I’m beginning to see this pattern of fear and lack of confidence and trust in myself and am becoming familiar with what brings it to the forefront. In savasana tonight, after my little revelation, the first thing I did was affirm myself. It’s the jumping off point here, really. I know I’m strong and ambitious and dedicated to this and when I pause, breath and envision myself as a yoga teacher, deep inside of me I feel the truth and I know my capability. I have astounding potential inside of me.

The same goes not just for me, but for all of us. For all of us who suffer at the hands of our fears. So let’s all practice together. Let’s let go. Let’s release our fears. Let’s rise up above our egos.

Let’s all be the blossoming lotus and most certainly let us remember how this flower is beautiful in all stages of its growth.

 

On Being Who I Am December 18, 2008

Filed under: goals,mindfulness,words to live by,yoga — Jenny @ 12:58 am

Yesterday traffic in Evansville was awful. A drive that normally takes me 8 minutes took 20. It was quite possibly one of the most annoying experiences in my life. So there I was in my car, fuming slightly and talking to myself road-rage style: Not sure why the guy in front of me was such a huge jerk and had to leave so very many car lengths between himself and the car and the one in front of him. Pretty miffed about the fact that only 2 or 3 cars were making it through stop lights because the idiots making left hand turns were running red lights. You know… the usual. And then, after a while of this (I mean, relatively speaking, I was in the car for a long time…), the thought occurred to me that I was sitting in my car, headed back to my apartment to do yoga, thinking bad thoughts about people. In that instant, I felt like a fraud. When I go to yoga, and when I meditate, I create an atmosphere inside myself of peace, quiet and love and I feel good about myself, sending love outwards to others. Yet here I was, settling into my frustration and allowing it to envelope me. I didn’t feel very true to the yogini in me at that moment. It made me feel… well… bad.

Tonight at yoga class, true to form, Andrew hit the nail right on the head with his intuitiveness. (I’ll leave my theories about his unique abilities to read my mind for another day.) At the end of class he said this: “Remember when you’re outside of here that you are the same person as you are in this quiet place on your mat.” He went on noting that when we get frustrated or impatient or angry in public, it’s important to come back to our breath and remember who we are when we’re in that place. (Seriously… Andrew just plain freaks me out sometimes…)

The point is, we are calm, loving, peaceful people. When we come to the studio, we make it a point to leave our baggage at the door. I’m realizing now the importance of carrying my yoga practice outside the studio and not leaving it on my mat. The outside needs the work of the inside to function properly.

So we arrive at my new goal: to carry my yoga practice with me outside of the studio, and off of my meditation mat. To remember that I am the same person in both circumstances. I cultivate peace and love. I breath in strength in the midst of a challenge. I let go of attachment to ideas.

I am a yogini.

 

i’m all ears December 15, 2008

Filed under: comfort,Energy,meditation,self-discovery — Jenny @ 8:07 pm

The time isn’t right for any words on fear just yet.

Instead I have a few words about listening. The saying goes that prayer is talking to the Divine and meditation is listening. I think that we, as people, tend to a lot of talking, a lot of asking. But when it comes to listening, we just don’t seem to have time. Or we aren’t open to the answer. It’s very easy to ask, but my goal now is to listen and to receive openly. The answers can often be so subtle that if we aren’t in tune, if we aren’t paying direct attention, we won’t realize that it ever came.

Listening takes practice and patience and an open mind/heart. Today was one of those rewarding days in meditation. So often in meditation we get frustrated because we don’t have revelations or epiphanies every time we sit and so we give up. It’s hard, but I am trying to be persistent and consistent. It’s like payday. You have to work a while and then at the end of the pay period, you get a check. So there I was and I had prayed and I had come to a place in my meditation where I was listening, for a change. Really listening.

And I got an answer.

I knew I was listening because I really felt that it wasn’t me that gave me that answer. The answer came from the greater Me, the part of me that is Divine, the part of me that I attempt to reach through my yoga practice and my meditation. I recognized that I hadn’t just “come up” with an answer. I’d received an answer.

It was a really neat feeling and it reinforced the idea I’ve mentioned before about the universe taking care of me. In yoga teacher training the other day, we were beginning a meditation and Chris came over and laid a blanket over me. It was a gesture that was tender and nurturing and motherly. What I got from listening today was the same thing. A tender, nurturing gesture from my Mother.

The time and effort to meditate seems to be a small price come pay day.

 

Fear December 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jenny @ 9:00 pm

Been thinking about it a lot lately. More to come later.