Showing posts from January, 2011

What's your motivation?

Substituting for my teacher is a lesson in humility.  The first student to arrive to class greets me by saying
"It must be hard when no one is ever happy to see you".  Humility wasn't exactly the bhavana I had been contemplating but apparently it was the lesson of the day. 

What I have been contemplating lately is what my motive is behind the "self-less service" that I do.  More accurately, not just my motivation but other people's motivation.  Have you ever had the experience where someone does something nice and thoughtful but the person is always reminding you of the nice thing they did for you?   It brings up the question "What was the motivation behind the kind act?"  I believe that the part about "self-less"  is often forgotten when self-less service is performed. 

This simple question "What is the motivation?" can change everything.  It's an exercise that I've been practicing.  Whenever I am about to do some &q…

Do you know what a mango tastes like?

For a little over a year now I've been participating in a study of the Upanishads.  We are blessed to have a teacher was has studied yoga texts for many, many years.  Each month, he generously opens his home to
us, spiritual seekers.   We sit at the foot of our teacher and read and discuss the beautiful poetic verses known as the Upanishads.

Last night we read the Mundaka Upanishad which talks about two modes of knowing. Knowing something intellectually and knowing something experientially.  Ed gave the analogy of wanting to know what a mango tastes like.   You can ask someone who's eaten a mango to describe it to you and you'll have some idea about the taste of it but until you take a bite you don't really know how it tastes.  The only way to KNOW what a mango tastes like is to eat one for yourself.

It's the same with spiritual practice.  You can spend a lifetime reading about yoga/meditation but until you step on the mat or sit on the cushion you only know it …

Who's in your driver's seat?

When the ego is in the driver's seat you will inevitably end up going down the wrong way on a one-way street. The problem is that you may not realize that you're going down the wrong way until you're headed
for a head-on collision. Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic here but you get the idea. It's never a good idea for the ego to be in control.

I let my ego lead my practice on Sunday and I'm still paying for it today. Typically I only do the asanas
that I like and can do without too much effort during my home practice, with the exception of wheel pose.
I love, love, love wheel pose!!

This, my friends, is wheel pose.  This asana is always a challenge for me but when I accomplish
Urdhva Dhanurasana it feels awesome!  It's exhilarating and gives me rush like no other pose.
But, without proper preparation, it gives me a pain in my back and wrists.  With the ego in the driver's seat,
I pushed up into the pose without properly warming up and the head-on colli…

"release us from the bondage and sufferings of the mind....."

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra Om tryambakam Yajamahe sugandhim pushti vardhanam urva rukam iva bandhanan mrityor mokshiya mamrutat swaha

We bow to the all pervading creative force - Shiva, absorbed in bliss, full of fragrance, the source of all nourishment.  As a fruit when it ripens separates easily from the vine, please release us from the bondage and sufferings of the mind and let us experience our eternal, blissful nature.
This was the mantra that came to mind during this morning's sadhana.  "Now is the time" is what I sensed at the end of meditation.  The fruit has ripened.  Can't avoid it any longer. 
Before Christmas I signed up for a distance learning course.  Dr. Frawley's "Yoga and Ayurveda".  I've wanted to take this course for the two years.  The package arrived the first week of December.   I was so excited to see that box.  I bought all the reference books. I bought new a notebook.  I couldn't wait to start!
I sat down and started reading r…

Where oh where can my guru be??

One day I'm in the car with a couple of fellow yoginis.  We were in the middle of the 500 hour yoga teacher training program and I was lamenting that I felt like I needed a guru.  My wise yogini friend asks me why I feel like I need a guru.  "I need someone I can talk to about my troubles. Someone to help me make good choices and decisions" I tell her.  My wise friend replies "You don't need a guru - you need a therapist!"

I have spent many hours pondering the idea of a guru.  What exactly is the role of a guru? How does one find a guru? What qualifies someone to be a guru?  Yes folks, I have questions.  So let's begin......

Wikipedia says: A guru (Sanskrit: गुरु) is one who is regarded as having great knowledge, wisdom and authority in a certain area, and who uses it to guide others (teacher).  For our discussion tonight, let's say that we are looking for a spiritual guru.  Someone who has great knowledge and wisdom in the areas of spiritual livin…

Satya: सत्या

Satya: सत्या is the sanskrit term for truth.  Satya is one of the yamas which are the foundation for living a yogic lifestyle. It's not just about not telling lies it's about living your truth.  The hard part for most is living and speaking your truth while still practicing ahimsa (non-harming). 

There are those who use the truth as a baseball bat without ever considering how their words effect the person receiving them.  When it's brought to their attention they justify their hurtful words by saying that they are only telling the truth.  There are others who stifle their truth with cupcakes and cosmopolitans.  They feel anger or hurt but rather than standing up for themselves and speaking their truth they use food/alcohol to push the feelings down. But no matter how many cupcakes or cosmopolitans you have, the truth is still there. 

What the practice of yoga/meditation can do is to help you to step back into a state of witnessing.  It's from this place of the witness …