Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Yoga with Mirella Nicholson

Friday, October 25, 2013

Learning and Teaching...

I'm about 3 weeks and 27 questions of my final exam away from graduation. I'm both excited and sad. It's exciting that I'll be able to officially call myself an "Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor" It feels good to have completed this course. It was a lot of work and required a lot of dedication. I admit that I am proud of myself for following through and completing it. I'm also sad. I'm sad that I won't be in class with my teacher and classmates anymore.

I asked my teacher what the next step in my studies is. He replied "time to stop looking for the next step." I am a perpetual student but I do believe he's right. It's time to stop looking for something outside of myself to validate me.

Twice in the past week I've encountered people who told me that for years and years they read every self-help book they could get their hands on. They participated in every self-improvement workshop and class they came across. They've spent a small fortune on therapy. For years and years they searched for ways to heal their internal wounds. I am no different.

When I first discovered yoga, my search for "self-improvement" was narrowed to Yoga related books and workshops and classes. But I was still searching for someone or something that would solve all my troubles. My search started out by reading books, then looking for yoga classes, then it was looking for a teacher, then looking for workshops and teacher training courses, then retreats, then a guru, then questioning everything I learned up to that point. Still I found myself searching.

Along the way I learned some profound and life changing things. Along the way I met some incredible people. Some of whom have become life long friends. But I've also found a lot of crap. I've come across a lot of people looking to make a buck from the taking advantage of vulnerable people.

After a long talk with a student recently I realized that through my own journey of self-exploration I had learned a thing or two that might just be useful to share. They may sound cheesy but I can say from my own personal experience that they are true.

** Everything you seek is already within you. There is no secret ingredient in the secret noodle soup recipe.

** No one can do the work for you. You need to do the work. Reading the book isn't enough. Even if someone else is an expert and teaches you the technique you need to DO it for yourself.

** There are shysters out there so the old saying "Buyer beware" applies even in yoga-land.

** Even Ayurveda recognizes that sometimes western medicine is needed. My teacher says "If I cut off my finger all the herbs in the world aren't going to reattach my finger"

** The Taittiriya Upanishad says: "practice right conduct, learning and teaching; be truthful always, learning and teaching; Master your passions, learning and teaching; control the senses, learning and teaching; Strive for peace always, learning and teaching; rouse Kundalini, learning and teaching; Serve humanity, learning and teaching."
"Learning and teaching are necessary for spiritual progress."

Ultimately, the searching and learning is an important part of the process but even more vital to our journey is the part when we use what we've learned in our day to day life. Once we have direct knowledge of what we've learned from our own personal experience we then teach.

"Learning and teaching are necessary for spiritual progress." But don't fool yourself; you can't skip over the part about applying what you've learned BEFORE you teach. Even if no one else knows you've skipped that part, God knows.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sometimes you feel like a nut....

I fell off the yoga wagon. I admit it. I haven't posted lately because I've been in a really negative mental state. I'm telling myself that I can't do yoga because I'm too miserable. How stupid is that?! It's as bad as the people who tell me they can't do yoga because they aren't flexible enough. Duh!! Doing yoga improves flexibility. Duh!! I need yoga to improve my mental state!

Oh yea.... I forgot..... So here I am.

Being an aspiring yogi is very much like being a mom. Regardless of how you feel physically or mentally the show must go on. As a mom, even when you're tired or cranky or having a meltdown, you're still a mom. There's dinner to make and dishes to wash and children to chauffeur.

The same is true as a yogi. Even when you're tired or cranky and most especially during the unavoidable mental meltdowns, you are still a yogi. That means you still show up to the mat and do the practice.

As a mom, there have been times when I had to get one my kids ready for school while she was in the middle of a tantrum. As she was screaming and kicking I was trying to stay calm, breath and continue to tackle the task at hand. Paying as little attention as possible to the tantrum was the surest way to shorten the duration.

The yoga practice, at times, resembles this same scenario. While the inner child is throwing the mother of all tantrums, we try to remain calm, breath and continue to do the practice. Hopefully, paying as little attention as possible to the meltdown will insure that it too passes quickly.

This morning the beautiful full moon helped me hear the whispers of the Divine Mother calling me gently back to the mat. Flowing through the Chandra Namaskar sequence and chanting the moon mantra helped soothe the tantrum a bit and for that I'm grateful.

It's easy to be a 'good' mom when everyone is happy but can you be a good mom while your little one is having a meltdown? That's when it really counts. It's easy to be a 'good' yogi when you're happy and feeling flexible but can you remember you are a yogi in the middle of your own meltdown? NOW... that's when it really counts!

Om Som Somaya Namah! Like the phases of the moon, everything, including our emotions, waxes and wanes.

I'm hearing the Almond Joy commercial in my head right now. "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't" LOL.