Real Yoga

silhouette of man sitting on grass field at daytime

Photo by Spencer Selover on Pexels.com

For most people, yoga is a type of physical exercise that takes place in a studio or gym. It’s advertised as being good for the body and helps you become more flexible and fit.

I hope readers of this blog now realize that there is so much more to yoga. Modern yoga has dropped much of the older yogic practices, such as working with the breath (Pranayama), locks (Bandhas) and cleansing practices (Kriyas) which were key to yoga as a path to awakening.

Rather than lamenting how things are not like the old days … I will share some timely wisdom from Judith Lasater:

“To practice yoga in its deepest sense is to commit to developing awareness by observing our lives: our thoughts, our words, and our actions. There are many yoga techniques that can support us along the way, such as yoga poses, breathing practices, and meditation. But these are not ends in themselves, but means to the Self.

The real beginning of spiritual practice is evident when we accept responsibility for ourselves, that is, that we acknowledge that ultimately there are no answers outside of ourselves, and no gurus, no teachers, and no philosophies that can solve the problems of our lives. They can only suggest guide, and inspire.

It is our dedication to living with open hearts and our commitment to the day to day details of our lives that will transform us. When we are open to the present moment we shine forth. At these times we are not on a spiritual path: we are the spiritual path.”

~ Judith Lasater, from “Living Your Yoga” Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life

I feel honored to be a guide on this journey to awaken our true Self.

Namaste

The Body’s Truth

back view beach clouds dawn

Photo by Riccardo Bresciani on Pexels.com

In the final analysis, we can control only ourselves. But we are often dismayed at our inability to master even this. What prevents us?

When we feel out of control, it is usually because there is a conflict between what we think and what we feel. Our feelings may scream one thing while our minds demand something else. But our bodies, which are the storage units for our feelings, simply cannot lie.

Whatever we feel in our bodies is our truth.

~ Judith Lasater

Take time to tune in to your body today. Listen to its message without judging it or medicating away any feeling of discomfort.

Be compassionate as you discover your truth.

Namaste

Inspiration – Your Joy is too Small

I came across these words from one of my earlier posts. It really resonated. Time to break out in celebration of nature and Existence. No event required. xo

joy

Photo from Pinterest

Joy Is Big

Your joy is too small, caged by the jailor of your thoughts.

It lives in the land beyond Infinity and is big beyond measure.

It teaches each tree to dance her own private blissful dance with the wind.

It is what the moon sings every night, holding us as we sleep with her streaming light-song.

Joy lives in your own drunken electrons, billions of them, spinning and dancing without end in their own intimate Universe, longing for You.

Do not look for joy anywhere else.

It is living in you, and gives meaning to all Existence.

Turn your heart’s eyes inward right now, and let them gaze in awe at the immensity

~ Judith Lasater

The Row Boat is Empty

What we think of as wisdom, is often a clarity of perspective.

In Judith Lasater’s book Living Your Yoga, she shares a Zen story that really shifted how I saw things. Here it is:

empty row boat

One day, a man is in his rowboat on a lake, and it begins to get foggy. Through the fog, he sees another boat coming down the towards him. The boat is coming right toward him, faster and faster.

He starts to shout out, but the boat keeps coming and smashes right into him. The man gets angry and strains to see who was so thoughtless and stupid! And then he sees that the other boat was empty. His anger collapses in that moment.

This is a classic story on our whole life situation…

There are a lot of empty boats out there.

There are a lot of angry people feeling like victims.

Just as an empty boat that rams into us isn’t targeting us, so too, people who act unkindly are often driven along by the unconscious pain inside of them.

By pausing and stepping back, we can find our middle ground and clarity of perspective.

Mantra for Today: “The rowboat is empty”

* Inspiration – from the quietness

This is a beautiful observation about what can happen when we find the quietness with us. When we find our Middle ground.

In this space is more than calming the mind or exploring our spiritual path, it is vital for our overall wellbeing.

Take time to pause in your day and find the quietness within.

wholeness and freedom

“From the quietness, we can make healthier choices about our actions.

From choice comes freedom.

From freedom comes wholeness.

And wholeness is the state of yoga.”

 From Judith Lasater’s “Living Your Yoga”

* Sell the Goat

 

cheeky goatThis story about a man, his family, a rabbi and a goat caught my attention in Judith Lasater’s  foundational and transformational book “Living Your Yoga”.

“A villager lived in a tiny house with his wife, 6 children, mother-in-law, a cow, and some chickens. It was making him crazy. So he went to the village rabbi and asked for help. The rabbi said he could solve the problem: he told the man to buy a goat. Thrilled, the man immediately went out and bought a goat. Now he had a wife, 6 children, a mother-in-law, a cow, some chickens, and a goat.

The house was even more chaotic than before. The villager went back to the rabbi and told of the even crazier chaos. Again, the rabbi said he could solve the problem. “Sell the goat.” The man went immediately and sold the goat. Suddenly, all he had was a wife, 6 children, a mother-in-law, a cow, and some chickens.Things were positively peaceful without that goat.”

When we can step back and see things from a different perspective, it brings new clarity and understanding.

“Your life is as it is. How you feel about your life is up to you”

So much of what we call wisdom is really about getting clear and seeing things from a different perspective. We all tend to get hooked into our thinking and believe it to be the truth. But our thoughts are not the truth, they are just thoughts… and we have the ability to change them.

Take a moment and reflect on the following questions:

How ready and willing am I to see an other person’s perspective or to take a bigger view of a situation, rather than just my own?

How aware am I of the ways that I am stuck in a rut or am living on auto pilot?

It takes time to reflect on this and bring new awareness of our outer and inner worlds.
We can also start to bring new awareness by considering what might be causing frustration or struggle right now.

Am I attached to seeing this in only one way, or are there other perspectives to be explored?

What am I grateful for here?

What do I need to let go of?

Perhaps there is a goat to sell.

* Joy is Big!

This is a wonderful inspiration for connecting with our joy – and to relish when we are on one of the highs of life. I am leaving for Kripalu tomorrow for my next module of my RYT500 yoga teacher training.

joyful girl

Yep – feeling joyful !! 🙂 

My thanks go to  Judith Lasater:

JOY IS BIG

Your joy is too small, caged by the jailor of your thoughts.

It lives in the land beyond Infinity and is big beyond measure.

It teaches each tree to dance her own private blissful dance with the wind.

It is what the moon sings every night, holding us as we sleep with her streaming light-song.

Joy lives in your own drunken electrons, billions of them, spinning and dancing without end in their own intimate Universe, longing for You.

Do not look for joy anywhere else.

It is living in you, and gives meaning to all Existence.

Turn your heart’s eyes inward right now, and let them gaze in awe at the immensity of your Joy.

Open to this and all creation will celebrate.

Open to this and all mysteries will be revealed.

 Open to this and you will fear nothing.

Open to this and you will begin to live fully in the space between each breath, each heartbeat, each note.

Joy is the language of the Goddess. Listen!

Your joy is big beyond measure.

* Life is Not to Be Lived on the Edge

In yoga we talk about taking our poses to the edge. To that place where we hold a good stretch before its becomes painful, where we soften and breathe to let go just a little more…..  Its a place of growth in our yoga practice. However, when it comes to life it may not work at all!

If we live at the edge of life’s highs and lows, then life becomes one crazy roller coaster … and probably quite short!bicycle on cliff

It’s a place to visit and appreciate being alive, but it can’t sustain us or nourish us.

I love this Middle Ground wisdom from Judith H Lasater (Judith is a renowned yoga teacher, psychologist and physical therapist in California):

“Life is not to be lived on the edges.

Because we are only able to see one vista from the edge.

Life is to be lived only from that paradoxical edge which is found in the center.

That center line exactly between yin and yang, black and white giving and receiving.

If you root there, you will find that every moment is richly bittersweet.

Every moment throbs with great joy and great sadness.

Wisdom is the refusal to run away from either.

Wisdom is the bittersweet heartbeat of the Universe.

Wisdom is embracing, allowing, being this bittersweetness.

Miss nothing. Refuse nothing. Embrace everything.

You are infinite and hold all the answers.

You are finite and know nothing.

Both are true.

But bittersweetness is the highest truth of all.

Be it.”

… and breathe …