My yoga practice has grown LEAPS and BOUNDS over the last month and not just in my physical practice. This past weekend I spent two whole days in a Yoga Immersion at The River learning about the 8 Limbs of Yoga and all of the mental / spiritual avenues through which to practice yoga, or to "live your yoga" and take the practice off of your mat. It turns out the physical "asana" practice is just a very small piece to this yummy yoga pie. It's some pretty neat stuff, and has made me realize that as my 40 days are ending, my yoga journey is just beginning.
I have to say week 5 has gone pretty well in most areas of the 'revolution' with the exception of meditation, which this week was supposed to be 25 minutes twice a day. Out of 7 days, I only managed to meditate 6 times and of those 6 times, only 4 of them were for 25 minutes... bad Rachel! I am going to rededicate myself to finishing up the last week strong w/ 30 minutes twice a day... I'm REALLY going to try (but my brother is coming into town on Friday for a ski weekend... so no promises...) BUT I am definitely going to continue daily meditation after the 40 days are over (definitely only once per day, because meditating in the evenings is just impossible for me, and probably starting w/ only 10-20 minutes a day) BUT even though this was my 'worst' week for meditation, it was also the week that the meditation component really clicked for me. I notice it creeping into my everyday life and I really think it has been a wonderful training for my mind - helping me to be more present in my everyday life AND helping me to recognize when my mind is getting carried away with itself and redirect my thoughts to the present moment.
This week the theme was centering and we focused on Baron Baptiste's Laws of Transformation #9 and #10... some more good stuff!!
Law 9: Don't Rush the Process - This law really reminds us that everything in life is a process and we can't skip the work and expect to see the results, any results. It is a great thing to be reminded of at any point in life and in any aspect in life, because no matter where you are or what you are doing, you've just got to put the work in in order to get anywhere in life. As Baron says,
The principle of process is a law that our culture is constantly attempting to defy. It is a law that cannot be broken, however, so we end up braking ourselves against it instead. For many of us it's easy to accept this law when we see it in nature, but personally we want to cheat it. We want the quick fix... We cannot rush the process and still expect to be really successful at anything.I love that. I need that reminder and I need it often! Baron quotes one of his students as saying, "I learned that I had to be willing to show up and suck until I could show up and shine." and that is what it is really all about. I've learned that a lot in yoga this last month. I try and try and try these poses and they just suck and suck until one day, I just get it! And it's wonderful! But if I had never tried and if I had never been willing to "suck" at it, I would never have been able to shine... and just like that, another lesson moves from the mat to real life, because when in life can you ever get good at something without first making mistakes?
Law 10: Be True To Yourself - As Baron describes this law he says, "Being true to yourself means looking within to discover what you know in your heart to be right and then acting on it. It does not mean following every last whim or urge you might have; that is just selfishness in disguise."
During this week, one of my yoga teachers shared this little cartoon on Facebook:
I'm not going vegan, but it's is funny because I ran into this a little bit when I went on my fruit fast (which was only four days!). Just as this cartoon depicts, in this law Baron is reminding us that following our inner compass probably will involve going against the grain, in some way, and that we should be prepared for that. It is important to be committed to our own intuition, find our way on our own in this life, and be willing to accept the disruption to our own status quo... because "the genuine transformational experience is by its nature disruptive of the existing state of affairs."
(this is literally a split second cut from a video of my first attempt at this pose... this is DEFINITELY one of my biggest works in progress, but I'll get it one day!)
I think the biggest lesson of this week, and the one that I will have to probably work on for the rest of my life, and will likely never perfect, is maintaining grounding and presence. And not just being present when I'm with my friends and family or really enjoying the moment when I'm out doing something fun... but being present in the minutia of every day life - do I really remember what i said to the grocery store clerk? Am I really present when I'm driving to and from my yoga studio (a drive which I could do blindfolded), or am I getting caught up in my stories and lists that run through my head.
This is where it is really starting to come together (as I mentioned earlier) that meditation is not just a practice that is separate from my 'real' life, meditation is a practice FOR my 'real' life. Baron encourages us to 'Make everything you do a practice of meditative awareness." What a challenge that is, but really it is a chance to reclaim your life from your self, to really be here and not be lost in thought, "in your own world" and missing what is actually right in front of you. How much have I missed already!?
still workin' on it!
Tomorrow starts my last week! It's almost over!!!