It was in a first year philosophy class that I first heard the famous Socrates quote “Know Thyself”. I kinda thought I did. I was a rural Albertan girl with all the hard work values of a redneck, the social morals of an activist and the naive dreams of a hippie. That sums it up right? Almost twenty years now I’ve sought to embody Socrates words – words that have become an incantation of sorts living just beneath the surface of perceivable thought. Like any good incantation the pursuit of self-knowledge bubbles up from the cauldron of my unconscious inciting questioning, feeling and understanding. I am truly spellbound by it.
My daughter’s in bed, earlier than normal and without the usual tantrum episode that accompanies bed time. The tightness in my chest has not yet release anxiety’s grip and my breath is thwarted by the anticipated stress of this time of night. I can feel a slight tension pervading my whole body as some level of me braces for a standoff with my mini-tyrant roommate. But she is sleeping, and as I start to believe that, I can feel certain liveliness tingling inside me from the rest of the day’s events. My legs ache a little from work in the yard, and my eyes are beginning to feel heavy. .
Ok, so I’m a liar. And my ceiling told me so while I was staring at it at 3am last night. In a response to the now notorious article in the NY Times about how yoga can wreck your body I retorted that a yoga practice devoid of awareness – like the ones proliferated in studio capitalism around the globe – is bound to create injury. And then I did it. I lied. Not intentionally mind you, but lied nonethess. I said that through awareness we can avoid yoga injury. And it’s not true – because injury happens. And no matter how aware we are, there is always something that.
I’m no stoic. Despite all my efforts, I have not been able to quell the torrents of my feeling heart. In fact in this moment I feel: – Content that I can relax in a sunwarmed chair in my favourite coffee shop. – Relief for having time to write my blog. – Anxiety because I really should be doing something other than writing my blog. – Sad that my gramma is in hospital – Happy that after a 14 month marathon I have finished my Master’s coursework Moment by moment I feel these emotions whirling and storming through me, each with different intensities and flavours. Depending on who you ask this may be considered.
It’s not always possible for me to engage a long practice and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. But, I’m also sure that I’m not alone in the need to take care of myself, to listen and respond intelligently to my body, mind and spirit. Below are some of the mini-practices that punctuate my busy days. While they may not bring me to the clarity or wholeness of a more in depth practice they help me to stay in my body, keep a toe in the pool of awareness and stop me from continuing the descent into my ego’s chatte.1. The “Dear God don’t let it be morning already practice”.
BKS Iyengar – Yoga Master I have always had a deep respect for Mr. Iyengar’s teaching. Like him, I believe that asana is a path to liberation and the en-lightenment of our lives. I was particularly struck recently by his description of the five stages of creating asana. Below is a re-working of this description through my own interpretation.It is obvious to anyone who has practiced a moderate amount of yoga with various teachers that there are differences from yoga class to yoga class. I have been curious about these differences for a number of years but have not been able to articulate them. Mr. Iyengar does just this in his book The Tree.
Sometimes I love to revel in how immensely practical yoga and spirituality can be. As a very sentimental person I find myself in the throes of wild emotional forces within me daily. For many years I had minimal ability to make space for this inner wilderness. Instead, I would find myself angry, depressed or anxious, yet I knew intuitively there was another way to allow the forces to move in me without being towed under by them. This way has slowed shown itself to me over time through my practices and most especially yoga. Yoga calls us to be completely present amidst awkward and difficult sensations. We are asked to stay with the inner.
All my life I’ve had very vivid and occasionally lucid dreams. I can still remember nightmares from when I was about 7 or 8 years old that left me jolting awake with heart racing and breath heavy. Other times I’ve adventured through my dreams in conscious control of my actions – talking to dream characters, flying here and there at will. Recently, I’ve had an interesting upsurge of both nightmares and lucid dreams. A few nights ago I found myself in a dream where a young boy had been kept hostage in his own house for a number of years without sunlight. I helped release him from this imprisonment but after years of captivity he.
Before Christmas I wrote a post about learning to live the deep philosophy’s of the East and West through our yoga practice. I believe that this will be a topic that will thread its way through my blog for as long as I write it. Recently, I’ve been inspired by Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II) and in this post, I will unpack this living posture so that it’s layers of meaning and impact can be seen. Warrior II It is possible to be in an asana without really being in an asana. We have become masters of mechanically applying instructions for just about everything without actually participating or being present. We can.