I often start my day by setting an intention for myself. As I mentioned in the previous post, this week it's about practicing contentment. The beauty of setting an intention is that the universe graciously provides us with opportunities to practice. (Try to remember this - this is key) When we are faced with challenges we need to look at those challenges as the universe giving us opportunities to practice yoga. Real yoga, the yoga that happens when you step off the mat. That's what I hope to share with this blog, how to apply what you learn on the mat to your life off the mat.
It's so easy to practice contentment while your practicing yoga with your favorite teacher. Who doesn't feel contentment there? It's another thing practicing contentment when you have 4 people pulling you in 4 different directions. What yogic "tools" can we use in that situation to practice contentment? Well, think about Vrksasana (tree pose). How do you find balance? Grounding in Tadasana (mountain pose) first, find a focal point, keep the breath flowing. Same principles apply to a challenging situation. First, grounding yourself by breathing deeply. Then find the focal point maybe a mantra to help center yourself. Now you're ready to take on whatever challenge you face.
I remember hearing a talk given by a meditation teacher named, Eknath Easwaran. He tells the story of being invited to a students home for dinner. After dinner they went into the student's study which was filled with books on meditation. Easwaran says to the student "You must spend a lot of time in meditation". The student, replies "I don't have time for meditation because this is what I do, I read books on meditation". "Surely you have read all these books" he says to the teacher. "I haven't time to read books because I'm busy meditating" the teacher replies.
It's not enough to read yogic philosophy and be able to do the perfect asana (yoga postures). We need to practice yoga everywhere, all the time, "sincerely, systematically, and with sustained enthusiasm"! One of my teachers, Ed Zadlo talks about filling your "tool" box with different yogic/mediation techniques that way you'll have just the right tool for whatever you are faced with. I'm trying to learn which tool to use in different situations.
I'll be sharing with you my experiences in the hope that what I learn will be helpful to other yogis and yoginis struggling to live their yoga. For now, I am going to practice contentment by sitting on the porch with my book and enjoy the energy of Surya (sun).