October 22, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I’m not talking about the “re-inventing yourself” thing. It’s nothing remotely romantic or interesting or new … but simply the mundane ups and downs of trying to be a good mom, trying to love, trying to run a business, paying bills … stuff like that. Weekly, I’ll get out a fresh yellow notepad and resolve to start over or I’ll plan out my week… six days, my full practice…. make the kids lunches everyday, get out the newsletter, answer all the emails I get in a timely way, plan this or that workshop, update the website… eat better… stuff like that… and on a daily, weekly basis other things come up, get in the way, I get distracted and though I have the best intentions, I don’t do it.
Thankfully though out of all the things I mentioned, my yoga practice (which has also had its share of ups and downs) is the one thing that has taught me that “starting over” is a beautiful thing.
Nothing else I’ve found is as efficacious. The day in day out look in the mirror, month after month, year after year, repetition of the same sequence of poses is potent and challenging, and can decrease the afflictions we have that keep us from gaining the momentum we need for change–– -and can give us the energy to make the conscious, focused, necessary commitment to face and burn off the habits that keep us from living fully.
Up until recently, after retiring from rowing, every so often I’d have these “come back” dreams… where I’d be the age I am now, and having not trained AT ALL in years, had a bunch of kids, and was trying to make the Olympic Team again. These dreams are stressful! Last night I was rowing at singles trials with these oars that were actually those plastic sticks you put olives on in a martini… hmmm. The stress and worry that I felt all the time when I was training would flood back. The fears of failing, performance anxiety, complete elation over winning, utter humiliation over losing, letting everyone down etc… all coming back. I don’t think that all elite athletes are like I was, but I was pretty much living and breathing what yoga explains as AVIDYA – which generally means ignorance, but more specifically means identification with that which is impermanent. And avidya is exactly what keeps us from trying, keeps us from starting over.
We’ve all had that experience with our yoga relationship. One day you are lighter than air and elated at the end of your practice because of how wonderful it was, and the very next day, full of hope and expectation that you’ll be granted that same lightness only to feel more like an elephant than a bird… and your mood is far different.
Yoga’s prescription for the afflictions of avidya is…. yes, practice
It’s stressful to try something that you think you’ve already lost.
But I think it’s young. Starting over is young.
Starting over doesn’t mean you failed and now you are going to try again… it just means that maybe there has been a lapse – that’s all.
Things that are challenging, jobs, relationships, yoga practice … 80% good, but 20% bad… Guruji says people in the world experience yoga, pleasure, or disease, whichever it may be, in accordance with their karma. He says, “From pleasure, disease is certain. Some people think that one must be lucky to enjoy pleasure. This of course, is true. But can it also not be said that, in order to experience disease, one must be lucky as well?”
In our ashtanga practice, the intensity and the repetition of the sequences is bound to make your mat into a mirror, just another tool for self-study. Even the most pig headed of us will begin to see our selves. You begin to see how you treat yourself, and those around you. My one friend wrote in her blog, ”Your body, as you work into the deepest places within, will give up its secret one by one. ”
So, it’s Monday morning, and I’m trying again, starting over and as I get on my mat a little worried but mostly happy and lucky that I can breathe, move, love…