"When one realises one is asleep, at that moment one is already half-awake."
At the end of the Thanksgiving weekend I found myself standing in the kitchen holding a bowl of cereal, probably my 40th "small" meal of the day, saying to my dog, who was begging for a chicken jerky "No, Olive. You've had enough snacks today" As the irony of the moment rose into my consciousness, I took a moment to thank my yoga practice for increasing my self awareness. Then I ate the cereal. Awareness doesn't always lead to immediate action.
Yoga is certainly not the only way to increase self awareness but for me it has been the most effective one. Since the asana practice (the physical poses of yoga) is the primary way we practice yoga, I must acknowledge that working with the physical body can sometimes yield more than just working with the intellect. Grief in the lungs can often be expressed through breath work. Anger or sadness might find some expression through stretching and moving. I can't explain scientifically why this practice works this way, I can only say that it has for me.
Through the practice of yoga (and let's include the breath work and meditation practices in that) I have begun to see myself with more honesty and act with more awareness more of the time. What is revealed isn't always something as small as my hypocritical snacking behavior. It can also be a rising understanding that some of those thoughts that come up when I feel challenged by life circumstances, by changes or difficulties, are also unconscious habitual patterns that I have let take hold in my mind and hold me hostage. These may express as anxiety, feelings of unworthiness, depression or anger. These patterns appear and become what we think is reality, until challenged with some deeper examination. A yoga practice probably won't solve all these problems, but it is a powerful tool to add to your journey toward wholeness, health and self understanding. Awareness is the first step.
The holiday season is ripe with opportunities to look for those unconscious actions and thoughts. Seeing family and friends with whom you have a long history can unearth recurring patterns and allow you to examine them and choose how you respond instead of react. Add yoga to your self care practice, you might find some insights that help peel away the layers covering your true being (one of goodness and perfection). And your dog might just get that chicken jerky.
Diane Mora, a lovely member of our yoga community, is collecting donations for her students. Diane teaches at East High School in the KCMO public school district. This school welcomes the largest population of refugee and migrant students in the state of Missouri. Their program works with students possessing 53 different languages. Displaced persons do not have the luxury of arriving with clothing or personal belongings and they are also largely unfamiliar with weather conditions common to midwestern U.S. Donations of winter outer wear are especially helpful. Gently used or new, they are seeking:
Gloves, Hats, Scarves, Coats, Hoodies (very popular)
There is a bag on the bulletin board at the studio where you can deposit your donations or give them to the staff and we will accumulate them for Diane.
Thank you for anything you can donate!
Just for Fun
'Tis the season
The Symptoms of Higher Consciousness:
18 Unmistakable Signs of Spiritual Awakening
"What does it mean to be awake? What are the characteristics of the state of 'spiritual wakefulness' or 'enlightenment'?"
Read the article by Steve Taylor, PhD here
Just for Inspiration
There's courage involved if you want
to become truth.
There is a broken open place in a lover.
Where are those qualities of bravery and
sharp compassion in this group? What's the
use of old and frozen thought?
I want a howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.
We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change.
Lukewarm won't do. Halfhearted holding back,
well-enough getting by? Not here.
Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi