I have a lot of hobbies. I probably have too many hobbies honestly. How does one not want to enjoy every possible aspect of the world we live in? It’s tough for me to say no to competition and fun. It comes at the expense of my relationships and my stress level however. Being truthful with myself is not an easy choice.
If I could have it my way, then I would play on three hockey teams, get in some USTA tennis, do more triathlons, get back to cycling regularly, break out the climbing shoes more often and chase my nephew and niece as often as I could. I only get 24 hours in my day to choose wisely from this list among a number of other items that are unmentioned. And I get caught up in trying to shove as many things as I can into that 24 hours. It limits the depth to which I can go in each of these areas. Truth does not ask an easy choice here. So how does one just simply choose? How do I get back to finding beauty in the simple when there is just so much to experience?
Of the Yamas thus far, I struggle the most with this aspect of Asteya.
Stealing from the Future
Mantra – I accept that truth rarely asks the easier choice.
The excess in our bodies, our calendars, our closets, are all signs that we are living as if there is no tomorrow and no one to live here after we are gone. What have you already planned for the rest of this week? How many shirts are in your closet?
Our focus seems to be on what we don’t have or what we might not have in the future, rather than on the abundance right before us.
If we stop long enough to gaze at what is laid out before us, to let the mystery of beauty and the wonder of the seasons sit deeply in our soul, our hearts cannot help but burst forth in thanksgiving and gratitude to life itself. Inborn to this kind of wonder is gratitude for where our life came from and indebtedness to the future.
Our ancestors literally gave their lives to create beauty on the earth and better times for the future. The incredible love stands on. Remembering our ancestors and the mystery that brought us into being is a way to reframe the sacredness of our own lives and the sacredness of the lives that will come after us.
Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele
We are all incompetent to some capacity. There are two ways to respond to our inadequacies, violence or love. I’ve learned to accept that there are just some poses in yoga that my body, anatomically, just isn’t prepared for yet. It’s really frustrating. My background in competitive sports often clicks in and I want to surpass what others are doing and even what I thought I could do myself. When recently working on flying pigeon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEsJMOW6RKc), I injured my right knee. Everything went fantastic on the left side, but I don’t have as much openness or flexibility in my right hip. The lack of flexibility here also puts strain on my right knee. So in a hurried state of thinking both sides should be equal, I heard a pop in my right knee. It seems to be healing pretty well so far, but all of that could have been avoided if I just decided to not be violent towards myself. There was no reason to throw myself into a pose that I know my body was not prepared for.
I tell the above recent reflection because I do not want you to be discouraged by your practice. Yoga is not a “on to the next level of poses and see what I can do one or two times.” It is a constant communication between your mind, body and the world within and around us. A practice filled with familiar poses and a positive acceptance of the state of your body can do wonders for you mentally and physically. You aren’t powerless … you are quite powerful when you display patience, acceptance and love. Don’t let the anger you hold towards yourself keep you from the beauty of the moment.
Dealing with Powerlessness
Mantra – I love who I am right now.
Whether we respond with anger, withdrawal, frustration, or resignation, there is a way in which our mind shuts down, as if we are riding a train through a dark tunnel and we can’t see anything but darkness and anxiety. Ahimsa, nonviolence, invites us to question the feeling of powerlessness rather than accept it.
There are three ways of thinking that can shift you out of a feeling of powerlessness: practicing gratitude, trust in the moment, and thinking about others. Any sense of powerlessness we are feeling can be traced back to the story we are telling ourselves in the moment about the situation. We all have the choice to tell a different story and grow ourselves up to take responsibility for our lives in a new and fresh way. With this attitude, feelings of powerlessness become opportunities to become competent rather than violent.
Book – “The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele