Finding our own expression in Yoga

Recently, I had trouble interpreting one of my student’s responses. “Jack” is the husband of a friend of mine. They had a private session with me at another studio a year ago, and that was that until I bumped into them a few months ago. We catch up. I find out that while she dropped out of Yoga, he had not, and has continued on. So I invited him to my Senior Men’s Yoga class.

men at gymJack checks out the class, enjoys it and signs up with a 15 card pass. This is great. He fits in well with the guys and this has been a hard class to establish. However, around this time I lose a couple of newer fellows for various health related reasons. Jack has had two hip replacements and he is still taking class from “Becky,” an experienced teacher I very much like and respect.

Well. This combination does nothing for my pervasive insecurity and leads me to wonder if Jack is getting anything out of my class. So I checked in with him briefly at the end of class and he indicated he was fine. Yet he must have sensed my angst, and gave the query more thought, because later that day he sent me an email. And that led to us chatting after class the following week. Continue reading

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Write It Down

Things happen for a reason. I’m more convinced of this than ever. A series of events align and it allows you to see from a different perspective. This happens whenever I venture north to Portland for a class with Chase Bossart. I’m there for a series on Asana Sequencing and a review of the Yoga Sutra, and a little nugget on meditation appears. Chase says, “If something comes up in the process of your meditation, write it down.” In other words, don’t stubbornly resist it.

I knew this. But why wasn’t I doing it?

At Kripalu, one of the concepts that was presented during our training was to “give permission.” Maybe I needed permission. So I sit down to my meditation the day after our weekend sessions, and I have no paper, no journal. So I write nothing down. My mind is addled, things come up, but I ignore them and press on.

I finish my meditation, and it was ok. But I realize I did not take advantage of that clarity. Thank the stars, Buddha, whomever… a process like this no longer drags out. The next day I have paper handy.

Wow. So much stuff is in my head.

There’s uncertainty in so many areas of my life right now.  But yet, little epiphanies arose out of meditation.  This time, I wrote them down. I have to say, though I seemed to stop many times, it did not affect my meditation. Time flew by and I was unburdened and more refreshed. And, beautifully so, I had a plan for one area of my life where I could bring some certainty. There was progress immediately.

I have had periods where I have meditated, each with different intentions. For some reason, I had meditated 45 days straight just prior to when the worst news of my life was revealed to me. I was amazingly stable. I meditated every day for a year. And more recently, with a workplace wellness challenge as an incentive, I meditated 31 days straight.  But, it dropped off again.

With all that is up in the air, I need my meditation to be regular.  This time, I will keep a journal nearby.

The Wisdom of Yoga

The Wisdom of YogaThe Wisdom of Yoga
A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living
by Stephen Cope, Bantam Books, Inc., 2007

Yoga is the practice of experience.  This is often lost on the western mind.  We see Yoga as a physical exercise and don’t understand or perhaps fear the depth of what experience beyond intellect can teach us.

The Yoga Sutras are incredibly distilled.  Much like the Taoist advice from the Tao Te Ching, the Sutras can seem maddeningly simplistic or even contrary.  In short, I’m not sure the Yoga Sutras would have made any sense to me had I not had the experiences I had in the studio. Continue reading