It was hard, but I willed myself to get back on the mat after more than two weeks without any practice of yoga.
A practice at home…a short practice…but a sincere practice and one with a purpose.
I want to feel my inner strength and keep holding on to it.
I want to be courageous and resilient,
I want to always be with HOPE, always be with LOVE.
I afforded myself a session (half a day) of this weekend’s seminar with A.G. Mohan and Indra Mohan. They are students of Shri Krishnamacharya who is said to be the father of modern yoga (he was teacher to Sri K. Patthabi Jois and B.S.K. Iyengar).
1. Yoga is a means to make our mind steady. One certainty in life is change. Change can be brought about by external events, which we cannot control . Change can be brought about internally, through our minds…this we can have control over.
2. What are the three most important things in life? Mr. Mohan asked Krisnamacharya this question. His answer: HEALTH which can be achieved through the practice of asanas; LONGEVITY which can achieved through pranayama; and TRANQUILITY, attained through meditation.
3. The mind is our inner television. I need to “watch” what I think. Thinking is more powerful than action. If we think things through, then our actions (including speech) will be more meaningful and/or less hurtful.
4. Happiness is simply letting go. Letting go of thought processes that causes anxiety, fear and worry. Freedom is in our own hands. If we do things that will make us happy, we become free; if we don’t do them, we become bound.
According to Mr. Mohan, happiness is within our reach and can be a constant in our lives. We can do this by having a focused mind; being aware of our thoughts and subsequent actions and consciously free ourselves from those that make us “unhappy”.
These are just a few lessons of that half-day and introductory evening that I attended. There are practical applications that I had started using in my practice this morning. Mr. Mohan was funny with his “stories” and is very sincere and humble in spreading happiness through the teachings of Sri. T. Krishnamacharya.
Grateful for this experience…
A couple of people asked me how I felt and what I thought about my first “international” yoga retreat and workshop. I think I was still not done savoring the experience and cannot answer the question well.
First, I was so amazed at how the practice of ashtanga yoga binds people from all over the world! Swiss, Germans, Americans, Brazilian, Filipinos, Japanese, Thais, Singaporeans — all have the same practice! I cannot believe that a single man was able to influence people around the globe to take on the discipline to practice yoga!
I was mesmerized by Tiwariji. His presence was comforting, his words were encouraging and uplifting, I have not really met anyone in the past that had the same effect (maybe Fr. Reuter during my high school years). He always had a smile on his face! He looked really happy! My friend Berta says maybe that’s how enlightened people look — I might just agree with her!
It took quite some time for me to understand how four women, who were devoted to their families would leave for more than a week! What will make them do that?! The trip wasn’t about getting or running away. I believe it is about touching base with the teacher, being close to an “energy” source, finding ways to enrich the self so that there can be more to share. It was an affirmation of the person you have become. It allowed me to look back when my practice began and where it can go — how my life was before yoga, when I started yoga and yoga in my life.
Yoga is literally translated to “yoke” – a bond. I understood myself more through the practice of yoga. It allowed me to bind my whole being — weaknesses, strengths, potentials, unaccomplished goals. I opened up myself to people I would never have met if not through the practice. Yoga binds people; people close to you, people new to you, people who live far away.
I enjoy receiving the articles of The Daily Om. Yesterday’s words were especially true for me (https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/135ae8f784cf44ba) .
February 24, 2012
Time for Wellness
A Self-Healing Day
A beautiful gift to yourself is a day of healing and nourishing just for you.
The article’s first line “Human beings carry within themselves the seed of healing.” made me smile and reminded me of the primary reason why I started the practice of yoga.
For a very long time, I felt sick and physically fragile. This affected the social aspect of my life, the quality of work I did and my overall view of my future. Although, I took the necessary medical steps to get myself better, it was frustrating and mentally tiring. There came a time however, that I was relieved of the “regular” physical pains I used to feel. I still remember that moment when I made a promise to myself, “I want to heal.”
I chose to heal myself. I started by taking yoga classes and I guess I made the right choice. I am so different now. I feel stronger, physically. I became more confident which was translated into better relationships and inspiring output at work. I can actually see a better future for me.
And I think more than anything, this is what I want to share when I talk about my life with yoga. We have within ourselves the ability to heal, all we have to do is commit.
Your body is your temple. Treat yourself well. Love yourself.
Yesterday, Saturday, I took upon myself a string of negative events which i believe was brought about by my logical and stubborn side.
I had called Italianni’s restaurant to make dinner reservations for my family. Their response was that they do not make reservations during the weekend. I found this very silly since the reason why you would want to make a reservation is for you to be assured of seating. You would do this when you know that the day you want to eat at a place would be busy, like a Saturday! I called them back and gave them my thoughts about it. And then it began…
…. only three of eight members of my thesis group arrived to meet me. As a teacher, this gets me quite upset despite valid reasons given.
… the key to the classroom assigned to me was not available for my class. I had to settle for another classroom. I had already envisioned how to set up the classroom for the specific activity scheduled!
… i was made to realize that I had not e-mailed the materials to the entire class (of eight?!)
… had a miscommunication with my family as to our dinner get-together!
All throughout these events though, I was quite aware of that negative energy and most especially, that I took it upon myself. I decided to just temper myself and try to shift towards a less negative perspective and action such as — forgiving the student for being late for the meeting; making the most of the available classroom for us; and enjoy the discussions brought up in class!
I was quite surprised of this acute awareness that I had and the deliberate actions I was taking to protect myself from the negative energy. And most importantly, I learned a lesson…”Think twice before acting on an issue!”
In order to protect ourselves from taking on any negative energy from other people or situations; we can learn to shield. – The Daily Om on “Avoiding Negative Vibrations” (http://www.dailyom.com/articles/2011/28451.html)
Three tweets this morning blurted out that it is already August! August is a relatively uneventful month for me in terms of occasions and activities but for the past three years I have been aware that this is the month I started practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (I practiced Hatha yoga two years before Ashtanga!!).
What has changed since I started?
1. Yoga is not just a physical activity for me anymore. Its teachings influence my work and personal life. The practice of asana has become my prayer. I pray for a healthy and strong body, focused and open mind and a strong spirit; in the hope that this translates to better decisions and outcomes at work, better relationships and a happier life in general.
2. I had become more conscious of my cynicism and am working hard to have a more positive outlook. After being able to engage myself successfully in asanas that seem impossible to do, I have learned that anything can be achieved if you take it one step at a time. I have always doubted getting a higher academic degree, but I have taken the first step of submitting an application form for a Doctorate program.
3. I have always dreaded growing old. I didn’t like how I imagined myself to be like when I hit the senior citizen mark. In the past I have made verbal declarations that I don’t want to live beyond 50 years old. But now, that has changed. I am beginning to look forward to gracefully aging. I was really inspired by a video showing a 60 year-old lady doing dropbacks with ease!
(image from dailymail.co.uk; Bakasana – a pose I still have to learn!)
As I look back, I am so glad to have made that crucial decision to take control of my health. More importantly, I’m glad that I considered yoga as a means to be healthy. It has given me more than just a healthy body; it has given me LIFE!
It’s almost the end of the workday and what have I to show? Not much but I did a lot of praying today.
(pic from andreastrussat.com)
I started the day with my spiritual practice of yoga. I made sure to make the opening chant. I was very happy to see Hoze, who was the first to teach me ashtanga and whose practice I truly admire. Seeing and talking to him makes me realize how different I have become since that first day when he taught me Surya Namaskar A and B! At that time, yoga was still a physical experience for me and the motivation I had was at a physiological level. Now, I practice other dimensions of yoga aside from asanas and it has affected much more than just my physical being.
After practice, I headed for an inurnment mass for one of our godfathers at our wedding. I have not attended a Catholic mass for quite some time but I thought that this was an obligation for me to do. I was looking forward to the homily but I couldn’t understand the priest (so much for that…) however, a male soloist was performing the hymns beautifully! The songs were touching and soul-wrenching (?!). It truly makes me want to hear mass regularly if songs were sang that way. Am now wondering: Can I play catholic music while practicing asanas? Hmmmm….?
(pic from freecomputerdesktopwallpaper.com)
The off I go again to another mass! This time an alumni from the College; an OT turned priest, said mass to give his blessings for the board takers this weekend. This time I was not disappointed with his homily! He interpreted for us, therapists and teachers, the parable of the sower from the Gospel of Matthew. This allowed me to reflect what kind of soil have I become; what kind of seeds to I sow and what kind of sower I am? I think these are questions I should constantly ask myself as a teacher and a therapist.
My realization today; hearing mass with a spiritual perspective may be worth doing after all…