Yoga, Aging, Entropy and Rediscovery

by on May 3, 2016 · 0 comments

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sunning_lizardIt’s been several months since I have completed anything in writing. Though I have started numerous articles, how-to’s and blog posts. I’ve had trouble coming to a sensible end to anything. The thoughts have been there but they seem really disorganized. The last couple of months have been very interesting. The studio where I teach and have practiced for almost a decade flooded during the torrential downpours Houston experienced in April. Though at first, I felt like this was a hurdle for my practice, my teaching and for our students, after some introspection I began to see the opportunities that taking some time away from the sangha, from teaching and from what a studio practice had to offer. There have been opportunities to practice with other people and more time for my own personal practice. While I love the experience and energy of practicing with my people, a solo practice offers so many different dynamics that what I receive in group practice. The most important offer from practicing on my own comes from complete immersion of body and mind. Yes, it’s something that we attempt to cultivate in a class setting, but even the most serene, grounding group practices have distractions. When it’s only me and one yoga mat, less effort is required to maintain the body and mind connection. I gravitate from focus on postural alignment into contemplative intuition carried by the undercurrents of a subtle psychosomatic warmth. I move into that place were union removes the delineation between time and thought. This is something so subtle, that when it’s not present in my practice, it takes a bit of forgetting myself to remember that this is what it’s all about.

Unfortunately, what begins with inspiration often leads to goal oriented attempts to morph my practice into something that it’s not and into something I’m not. Taking time away from everything helped me to remember this. I easily get lost in the superficial components of yoga, wanting my body to move into certain shapes, or even look a certain way and while goals and inspirations are good, some are not healthy at all. While my current physical state is nothing extraordinary, it still requires daily effort to maintain the health that I consider to be a standard of living, and while I strive to mimic those who inspire me, the fact is that my body doesn’t facilitate the entry into all postures and no amount of effort or discipline may change that.

My grandmother passed away last week, and while I have known for some time this day would approach unexpectedly soon, I was not prepared for the impact. There was the emotional component of witnessing the decay of her health over the years. Part of it seemed ‘unfair’ to me from a selfish standpoint, because this was not the person I remember to be my Grandmother. Someone who was always able, could be there for me when I needed her and always happy to help any way she could. Seeing her suffer of the years as her health failed her often felt like my own punishment. While the thought may seem illogical, stepping through the door of this emotion is very real to me. Now that she has passed, the reality of what it means to be human is solidified, juxtaposed against my own superficial goals in life.

When I was discussing the all this with a friend, he mentioned that when a grandparent dies, it’s like a chapter of your life comes to an end. Those words ring so true to me. Times passes, people age and new generations step into their prime as the universe continues to unfold. The truth of this brings more investigation into my life, practice and efforts. The continuously delicate balancing act of what’s important always weighs against what brings joy into my life. I must consider what I desire, what I desire that is no longer possible at this point in my life and what I desire that will no longer be possible if I wait any longer. There is also consideration for all my efforts and their associated requirements and wondering if it’s all really worth it. The conundrum of trying to figure out if the ‘juice is worth the squeeze’.

The most disheartening revelations have been the ones I chose to see around or not embrace at all like being a transient being, with limited time on this planet. I find myself amazed at the trivial things I choose to waste time on in action or thought. But sometimes we do make eye contact with reality, and no amount of distraction will allow us to look away, and in these moments I can choose panic out of unknowing, or choose gratitude for being a child of the universe. This is, after all, what brings me back to the mat and this is what I want to embrace in every moment.

It seems that for the past couple of months, reality has been a unwelcomed visitor in my life, much like someone whose opinion you’d rather not hear, because it will be on repeat for the next month, causing you to continuously re-evaluate things.

Reality has made me aware that my biggest efforts in my physical practice are often not well placed. Those well-planned goals and fervent desires of physical prowess often choke out the seedlings of grace that the subtle body has planted for the mind’s lessons to be learned. Sometimes I put so much emphasis on transformation and attempting to transcend the human condition, that I don’t take the time to be accepting of myself and my practice. I’m looking forward to bringing my practice from the periphery back to the core and to remember by forgetting once again.

In revisiting cherished texts and books, I re-discovered some sage advice from Paramhansa Yogananda;

“One should always feel in his heart that God is his one true beloved, who alone, resides in the temple of all human hearts. It’s not how you live outwardly that matters, but how you live within. Make your heart a hermitage and your robe, your love for God.”



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