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Archive for May, 2010

Letting Go- Update 1

Four days have passed since starting my new Letting Go sadhana and I thought I’d take a moment to do a quick recap.  I already shared Day 1 in a previous post and Day 2 was pretty much the same.  I was  a litle more conscious of my negative thoughts so let’s just say that my pen and notepad came out a few more times that day.  However, my day still felt satisfying because I was able to successfully throw away and let go of these thoughts almost immediately.  And overall, I just felt better about myself and life.

That being said, Days 3 and 4 were a challenge and struggle.  I’ll just share Day 3 because 4 was about the same but on a smaller scale.  Day 3 seemingly started out the same as the previous days but then I had a thought that I just couldn’t shake.  I tried writing it down and throwing it away but this one was persistent.  Being at work at the time, little nuances that I could normally ignore started frustrating me and I could just feel this negative ball of energy just growing within me.  To compound the situation, I was working alone for most of the morning and honestly, being by myself with just my thoughts was the last place I wanted to be.  I wanted to just run away and not be me for awhile.  I could just feel my frustration growing and sadly I gave up on my sadhana at the moment because it was becoming more than I could write down and sometimes just hard to define in words. 

Needing to break out of my slump, I went up to a coworker and asked her to share a funny story with me.  She shared a great one and it did help lift my spirits for awhile.  It was an internal battle for most of the day though.  At one point, I even walked into an empty room, closed the door, and practiced doing a few headstands.  For a few seconds, I even held it without my feet supported against the wall!  That helped lift my spirits a little more.  Also, the thought that someone might walk in and wonder what is this crazy guy doing upside down helped bring a chuckle and smile to my face.  Day 3 was definitely tough.  I’m not quite sure I met these sadhana challenges with success that day but it was still a valuable learning experience.  I wasn’t expecting such a tough day so early in my new sadhana but I knew there would be struggles.  I am learning and exploring my True ME and well… they aren’t called growing pains for nothing.

Within me, I know I have the strength to overcome these challenges and truly be able to let go.  Om Shanti.

Namaste.

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Guests In My Life

This was a thought I had as I was driving around a few days ago. Everyone (family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, strangers, etc) they are all merely guests in our life.  And while these guests can influence our thoughts, actions, and emotions, the final decisions is ours and ours alone. 

The other night I was relaxing at home when a friend messaged me wanting to come by and hang out for awhile.  A few messages were exchanged, I said yes, and then no reply.   So I waited an hour and sent another message to find out what happened.  Eventually I got another message and then nothing…  I wasn’t sure if they were coming by or not but while waiting, I ended up falling asleep.   Then I woke up in the middle of the night feeling really bad and thinking, “Please don’t tell me they drove over here and I didn’t answer because I was sleeping.”  Although I was dreading it, I reached over to grab my phone and saw… Nothing.  Annoyed, it took me awhile to fall back asleep. 

The reason I share this story is because I let this “guest” affect the outcome of my entire night.   I was home, relaxing, minding my own business, unwinding from a tiring day, and then a friend called, altering my plans for the night only to never follow through.  I went from relaxed and content to frustrated and annoyed when in actuality, nothing had changed.  I was still home and I should have just kept relaxing, minding my own business, and unwinding from a tiring day instead of expecting something that ultimately didn’t happen.  And I even let it affect my sleep!?!

I didn’t need that and I didn’t deserve it.  And while some of the responsiblity lies in the other person, I am more concerned about my actions.  Everything I do, say, feel, or react is ultimately my choice.  And no matter how much I love, respect, and treasure these people, they are still just guests in my life (as I am in theirs).  I need to be more conscious of this fact and sometimes that will mean being indifferent rather than reacting.  Simple but not always easy. 

Anyway, just one of the random thoughts floating around in my head.  Thanks for reading.

Namaste.

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Letting Go

Ever notice how great ideas come to you when you least expect it?  Yesterday I was driving to the store when an idea for my new sadhana practice flashed in my head.   My mind was racing and I was so excited, yet I had nothing near me to write it down so I just kept repeating it in my head over and over again, hoping I wouldn’t forget it.  I didn’t have a name for it but the more and more I thought about it, I realized that this would be a huge challenge/opportunity in letting go.

First, I must let go of the past, especially the fears, doubts, mistakes, and negativity.  Now that doesn’t mean I just give myself a “free pass” to my mistakes and wrongdoings in the past.. No.  Letting go means accepting and taking responsibility for them, asking forgiveness, understanding the lesson I’ve been given, and moving forward without regret or guilt continuing to torture my heart, mind, body, and soul.  And the best way I can “measure” this is to be conscious of the negative thoughts in my head.  One of the main sources of suffering is to let these thoughts fester in your mind and allow them to grow and spread like cancer.  So instead of allowing this to happen, once these thoughts pop into my head, I will pull out my notepad and pen (which I will carry around with me starting today) and immediately write this negative thought down.  Once it is down on paper, it is no longer a part of me.  Then I will take this piece of paper, crumple it up, throw it away, and I will think of it no more. (I’ve also thought about burning them instead.  Although this idea sounds more fun, it would also mean I’d have to “hold” these negative thoughts throughout the day, which I’m not fond of).  I, nor the Universe, has room for these negative thoughts so I will throw them away and let them go.   Negativity will no longer live within me, I will let it go.

Second, all positive thoughts I will say out loud.  While negative thoughts should be thrown away, positive thoughts should be shared with the Universe.  I will let go of my positive thoughts so that they may rain down upon me and everyone else in the world.  And yet even if I let these positive thoughts go, I will find that they still grow larger within me.    I will give of my positivity freely and wholly and in return, I shall receive the same a hundredfold.  Positivity is the prana (life force/energy) we all must share, I will let it go.

Through my new sadhana practice, I seek to fill my heart with love and let it surround me in everything I do.  From my actions to my relationships to my attitude to my soul.  I will be more conscious and begin to rid my mind of negative thoughts so there will be more room for positive.  I’m very excited and see this as my biggest step yet in truly living my yoga.

JAI!!!!!

Namaste.

**********

5/26/10

Today was the first day in my new sadhana practice/journey/venture and I think it was a successful start.  Although I have no intent of keeping a record of my negative thoughts, I thought it would be beneficial to save and share the 3 I had today. They were:

  • I am irritated.
  • I am alone.
  • I have been afraid to let people in.

Now that I have shared that… *crumple them up* *thrown away*  One of the things I realized today was that this may be a little more challenging than I expected.  At first glance, 3 negative thoughts in an entire day seems pretty good.   But then I realized a probably more accurate truth… 3 is the number of CONSCIOUS negative thoughts I had today.  I’m sure I had many more but I may be so used to them, I didn’t even realize it when it happened.  This could turn out to be a VERY interesting experience in self-realization for me.  As I wrote these negative thoughts down, I think another thing I will add to my sadhana is that as I am throwing away these negative thoughts, I should say an affirmation to truly let go and rid them from my life.  For example, as I throw away the “I am alone” paper, I could say, “I am blessed with people who love me.”  I think this will help strengthen my practice exponentially!

Overall, this was a huge step and learning experience for me!  I already feel like I am making progress and overall, I felt pretty happy throughout the day.  That’s not to say it was not without it’s difficulties, I just chose to stay positive and look on the bright side of things.  Today, I feel very fortunate.  Before I go, let me leave you with a great quote and something to think about:

“If we cannot be happy in spite of our difficulties, what good is our spiritual practice?”

– Maha Ghosananda –

 

Thank YOU for being you and for being a part of my life.  I appreciate you.

Namaste.

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Day 13 was about Saucha.  As I already shared in my last post, my Sarvangasana‘s (shoulder stand) did not feel right so instead I used my sadhana to help stop the downward spiral my mind suddenly found it in and also to release tension in my body.  I did this through a series of forward folds: Baddha Konasana, Paschimottanasana, and Kaptoasana.  By the end of practice I felt much better and helped rid myself of the toxins in my mind and body.

Day 14.  I used my sadhana to meditate.  Turned the lights off, put on some soothing music, sat in silence, and lost myself in the moment.  I did not meditate anything in particular, just took the time to enjoy the here and now.  It was not long, perhaps 15 minutes.  I then laid down for savasana and fell asleep shortly thereafter.

Day 15.  To be honest, my sadhana feels complete. While I still have a lot to learn about Sarvangasana, I think those lessons would be better served in class. This is actually something that has been on my mind for the last couple of days.  I’ve wondered if I’m just lazy or quitting.  I’ve wondered if I should just force myself to continue.  And while it is only 2 more weeks, I do not like the notion of doing something  just for a number.  No, I really feel like my sadhana (or more specifically, Sarvangasana) is complete.  It is time to move on.  I will continue and grow my asana practice at home but I will search for a different sadhana. 

I do not know what the next few days will bring but I will stay open to the possibilities.

Namaste.

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Tapas + Saucha = Tejas

5/22/10    11:45pm

A few moments ago I was sitting at my computer just mindlessly surfing the internet and not doing anything much in particular when a bunch of memories, thoughts, and regrets just suddenly hit me at full speed.  I don’t really know what triggered it but it caught me so completely by surprise, I was content one moment and the next dazed and confused.  It took me a few moments to finally realize what happened but when I did, I turned towards my mirror, stared at myself for a few seconds, and said out loud, “Stop.  Dude, you have to stop.”  A few days ago, a friend shared with me some great advice.  She said that we cannot dwell in the dark places in our lives.  We cannot change the past.  We must work towards the future.  With that in mind, I think it would be appropriate to begin my sadhana practice for the day.

**********

5/23/10    12:30am

Sadhana wasn’t what I was expecting but I still feel was a success nonetheless.  After some stretching I tried doing a few shoulder stands but my body was still much too tight.  As such, I was fighting and struggling to properly align my body which didn’t seem to be doing much good so I stopped.  Instead, I decided to focus on loosening up my body, hips and legs in particular.  The 3 poses I did were Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose), Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend), and Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) forward fold.  I decided to hold each pose for roughly 5 minutes.  Especially feeling tight, these poses were going to be a challenge physically and mentally.  Each time my mind and body were screaming for release, I focused on my breath.  I knew that if I could endure the initial pain, my body would eventually relax.  Perhaps this breath or maybe the next but the pain would eventually be replaced by steadiness and ease.  It did.  When that moment came, it felt as if I just melted into the floor and could stay here forever.

As I was practicing, I was reminded of a lesson shared by my instructor earlier in the day.  She said:

Tapas (fire, intent, purpose) + Saucha (twist, cleanse, wring out, change)

=

Tejas (Inner Light, Brightness)

First, I committed to the pose, accepted and allowed the pain to settle in my body (Tapas) and when steadiness and ease replaced the pain (Saucha), I smiled and gained victory from within (Tejas).  Through these asana’s, I found again the contentment and peace I had temporarily lost.  I thought about attempting another shoulder stand but decided not to.  My sadhana felt successful and complete, I honored that. Ended with an extended savasana and went to bed shortly thereafter.

It was a good day.

Namaste.

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Practicing Silence

Sadhana Day 10-12

In order to let my rib fully heal, I took a break from my daily shoulder stand practice and instead practiced silence.  I don’t mean complete silence (that would be interesting but life and work get in the way) but I am trying to observe and listen more.  I’ve been fortunate to get a chance to talk/hear from 4 other fellow yogi’s as they practice their 30 day sadhana too.  A handful of times I wanted to speak up and say, “Me too!”  I could definitely relate and maybe had a similar experience.  However, I did my best to just listen and ask appropriate questions.  I wanted to enjoy listening to their experience and the impact it had on their life.  During class, I’m doing so much personal exploration that sometimes I don’t really learn about my fellow yogis so this was a great opportunity to learn more about them just as people.  It was very interesting.  To be honest, I’ve been a little hesitant to really connect with people and develop new friendships.  I mean I’m nice and I smile and genuinely enjoy being with my fellow yogi’s in class but save for a handful of great new friends, I’ve been scared to develop a friendship outside of class.  The reason behind this I will save for a future post.  Suffice to say, my practice of silence has been very beneficial.  It has let me grow more as a person and hopefully the opportunity to develop new friendships.

Today I restart my shoulder stand practice.  My body feels good and I learned something new from an instructor recently that has really benefitted my shoulder stands.  I’m much straighter/properly aligned and am keeping the weight out of my hands.  I think the next few days will contribute significant progress to my shoulder stands and sadhana in general.  However, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop practicing silence.  It is definitely something I am going to continue doing.  It was  a great experience and l’m looking forward to continued learning and growth.

Namaste.

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The Blindfold and the Rib

Day 7– Not much to mention today. Shoulder stand felt good as were the other poses. I tried to stay present but I did find my mind straying a little more than usual. Nothing to worry about, all part of the process.

Day 8 was about experimenting. When practicing my sadhana, I like to turn the lights off and just allow the moonlight coming through the window and the backlight from my ipod to cast a warm glow in the room. Today however, I wanted it pitch black. Using an eye shade, I ensured I wouldn’t be able to see a thing. Much like the day before, I found my mind a little scattered and likely to stray again. By eliminating my sight, my sense of touch/feel was priority. No longer could I look up and judge if my legs were aligned properly. I needed to understand where my legs were without needing to see them. Same for my core, hips, and arms. I wanted to gain a better understanding of shoulder stand without relying on my eyes to decide if I was right or “wrong”. Overall, I think it was a success. Without my eyes to judge the pose, I just had to relax into it and trust that my body was properly aligned. I took away my eyes to give my mind’s eye a chance to see. I think I will probably try this again next week and see if there is any difference. I’d also like to experiment with my sense of smell. Let’s see how that can affect my practice.

Day 9 was painful. I’m not sure how I did it but I think I have a rib out of place on my right side. It has happened a handful of times to me before but the last was probably 2 years ago. The pain is more of an annoyance but pretty constant. But if I twist my body a certain way or put pressure on it, it feels like.. well let’s just say it takes your breath away.  I cautiously attempted to do a few poses but my range of motion was very limited.  Wondering if I could even do a shoulder stand, I attempted a bridge pose first.  Not even close.  My hips could only go about halfway up and when I tried walking my shoulders blades beneath me, I dropped in pain.  I spent the rest of my home practice lying on my back with my feet up the wall and finally lying in fetal position trying to help massage that rib. 

Obviously I will have to modify my sadhana over the next few days to give my rib time to heal.  Not sure what I am going to do yet but I trust I’ll find the answer when I’m ready.  9 days into my sadhana and this has already been quite a journey.  Thank you for the support.

Namaste

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