What has washed up on the shore of your life?
Posture ‘adjustments’ in a yoga practice, are actually conversational clarifications.. the elements of heaviness, compression or spaciousness; of flow, or stagnation, are in conversation. The asana is a situation in which conversation must be had to harmonize the forces within the experience. A study of the koshas in a yoga practice requires that we learn asana, we study asana and we practice asana. This means the conversational process is valued – we are open to learning, feeling, being challenged to let go, to embrace, to hold when we want to drop, to surrender when we want to grasp; to experience support and space and to watch the choices we make and the results.. what washes up onto the shore of our lives – what choices, conscious, or in the depths are evident to us as we stand upon the shore of our own existence.
The ocean has a way of showing us what goes on in her depths.. I remember a woman named Amy who talked about her work as a geologist. She told stories about what she found on beaches after a massive tsunami, in countries thousands of miles away from where the tsunami hit. Amy collected rocks off the beach. Rocks that gave evidence of forces deep under the surface of the ocean. Forces that told a story that only her, and a few other colleagues, could understand; stories about the arising devastation from the collision of forces - devastation that some survived and that many did not.
As we walk on the beach and see what has washed up from the tide the night before, so too we can learn to observe, to gaze upon our life, and start to see what has washed up. Learn to ask, ‘what is in the ocean of me, that washes this experience onto the shore of my day, my life?’ Practice to engage with experience as a piece of evidence of what is being down loaded through you and into this world. Learn to halt the habitual. Siphon off the debris, the garbage that has been tossed into the ocean of your life. Be real, by being present to what you see now, this moment; develop courage to be honest with yourself. Become accountable about what you are allowing to get downloaded through your thoughts and memories into the world, and, grow compassionate understanding of how we become the carrier for messages and actions that when we look into them, make us hang our head in shame and drop our heart in helplessness. Ask.. how did this come to be in me?
Cultivate the disposition of ‘learner’
We don’t know the answers to why we are here… why all these things happen to us and yet for the most part, we behave as if there is nothing to learn – all good. I am me that is you.. and we battle.. what is right, what is wrong, who is better, who is worse. The battle ground becomes the norm, the expected. Someone is always the winner and someone always the loser.
Why is it so difficult to accept that we do not know the answers to the big questions of life? What part of us feels that the only safe place to exist, is within the mode of “knower” .. and when did this view get a hold of the reins?
Arising out of the industrial revolution and through the era of scientific ‘revelation’, which has been accompanied by the ‘superior position’ that demands the “abandonment of superstition and mystery”, comes the generation being manipulated by their natural curiosity in ‘spirituality’. Manipulated through evocative marketing - the clever use of fear, and relentless brainwashing that uses our instinctive interest in the interconnectedness of everything, to convince us that the closest thing to God-ness, is the sexualization of the body. Be this in the gyms, on the gladiators’ football fields, in the reality TV shows, or on a yoga mat.
Be we succeeding, or failing, in the body beautiful quest, we are equally controlled by it. In the depths of our memory, and as we stand in the shopping mall trying to find just the right outfit, it is there. It dominates our mind, our sense of who we are and what is valuable.
We are captivated and lured into this mess because there is a deep underpinning of truth in it.. The embodiment really is an instrument though which we can arrive into an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things. If we take the hint of the yogis who practiced thousands of years ago, we learn by entering into a conscious and intimate relationship with our body; we study the manifest energy of the universe.. when the particle nature of body, the earth, water, fire, air, space elements are re-cognized in this way (as opposed to the sexualized version of body)– they are felt/known, as an interconnected field and experienced as our link to universal wisdom.
Whoa… sorry, I am starting to talk about quantum physics. EXACTLY. Of course… science can only investigate what is.. Including how we mentally deceive ourselves.. the wave particle duality of quantum mechanics has proven that our expectations affect the outcomes of an experiment. We have to watch and discipline our thoughts as they affect what washes up on the shore line of our life. The deepest thought waves, the strongest currents within our emotional body.. we have to learn to see them. To watch them and quieten them.
The body is actually the operationalized and externalized brain.. or said another way, the brain functions so that the body can ACT.. achieve tasks, move from A to B.. to ensure that ‘we’ can participate in the journey on the horizontal plane. .life on earth - our existence of “me” in time and space. And what is this “me” that downloads via the brain… well, who knows.. But as we watch our actions within the world, we start to get a clue. We can do some forensic ‘personality’ profiling.
Live life in the mode of ‘learner’ - practice to sensitise your mind
What is a yoga practice? When yoga is recognized as a State of Being, what is there to practice?
We practice to remove the obstacles to the experience of Yoga.. Yog is inherent, it is not earned.
The removal of these obstacles, to our experience of Yog, this is where effort is directed. Without understanding the intent of practice, efforts, most likely, will function as entrapment. We unwittingly reinforce the very structures that we seek liberation from. This is why in classical spiritual teachings, like in the Bhagavad Gits, it is taught, “do not be attached to the fruits of your actions”, but rather act in moment with presence; from an internal locus of control. An authority based on resonant clarity of NOW. Be fully engaged and address, respond, to what each moment, each situation requires.
Who do you know that is capable of being intensely present without self-invested interest? Even when someone is being very kind, loving and generous, often they are still invested in receiving thanks, praise, approval. They are in a process of shoring up their self-perception based on being a certain type of person. What if, in fact a deeper presence was actually asking that this person use their authority to challenge, to discipline, to ‘call out’ an injustice? These acts ask something different, they are not asking for violence, aggression, unkindness – they are asking for the Being Present to ‘cognize’, the situation from the view of the vast and powerful Being that they are; rather than the small self who is being attached to praise and image based on being ‘nice’.
Have you met someone like this? Are you like this?
Are you interested to think and feel differently about what gets washed on to the shore of your life.. what it is that you have to deal with from day to day, year to year? Join me in 35 hours of yoga.. 7 days of retreat, with all meals included 9 - 15 November for $950, we will practice deeply with Prashant Iyengar’s research into Modes of Practice: Learning, Studying, Practicing, and this will be a framework to explore our multilayered selves: the koshas – different densities/vibrations through which and by which energy is translated into actions.
Yoga provides a context in which teens, living in a sea of peer pressure, performance stress and emotional change, learn restraint and self reflective awareness. This course for teenagers aged between 12 and 15 years of age, will both challenge and nourish them.
Facing the Gestapo at his door, the man spoke with confidence and authority, “No Jews here”. The man was of course lying. A family of Jews had been living in the basement for many months. An exploration of why internal clarity and inner authority is necessary to navigate life.
Due to poor balance I had never consider yoga was for me as the images most often seen in posters and magazines show perfect bodies with amazing balance. October 2014 a few weeks before my 71st birthday I walked into my first yoga class. I have been asked “is it worth all the effort at your age?" My answer is “YES” yoga is even more important as we age. Seniors have experienced a life time of stress, raising a family, paying the mortgage, working at our chosen careers as well as balancing a family household. We have all experience grief, loosing grand parents, parents, aunts and uncles now at age 76 I am loosing cousins and life long friends. Our bodies have endured a life time of wear and tear from injuries, poor posture due to sitting and working at desks and repetitive actions such as housework and gardening.Yoga is ideal for all seniors even those with physical limitations, in our classes it can be quite normal to have several variations of a pose to suit individual needs. Learning to work with your body not against it is the same challenge regardless of age. Nursing several old injuries I do not want to add to them, I am very grateful to have well qualified teachers who are attentive to my needs and dedicated to keeping all students safe whilst practising. Yoga is not a quick fix for all ailments, I still experience some back and ankle discomfort but now rarely need to take pain medication. Today I am sleeping more soundly but occasionally still have a restless night. My time management has improved although at times I still talk to myself and loose focus. The big difference is I feel I am in control of my afflictions they are not controlling me. I am coping better and with my regular yoga practise I hope to prevent my health concerns from becoming chronic. Hopefully I can reach savasana with less suffering and with more dignity than my mother. Joan