YOGA SUTRAS OF TRAVEL: PART 21
1.21-23 TIVRA SAMVEGANAM ASANNAH/ MRDU MADHYDHIMATRATVAT TATO’PIVISESAH/ ISVARAPRANIDHANAD VA
“Before enlightenment I had to chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment I had to chop wood and carry water.” – Old Zen Saying
When I travel and come home the laundry and the list of things to catch up on are both piled high. It doesn’t matter so much because there is this warm feeling about being back in my space, nestled in my polartec fleece sheets, and surrounded by the people and things that most ground me. The shift away during the working holiday brings perspective to the comforts of a daily routine. I really love to travel and I love the state of returning as well.
In a spiritual or emotional journey we can often travel to many extremes. In some ways we are all trying to “get” somewhere and our minds travel furiously through the many options trying to make sense of it all. I was experiencing a bit of this pattern as my exhaustion levels rise and the reality of jet lag settles in. My mind was racing this morning with all of the chaos and my eyes blinked on the verge of tears as the overwhelming sensations of work, anxiety, and sleep deprivation dripped through my being. I was vividly aware of what was happening and why. I know that this is the biggest part of the practice. It is easy to work on staying present when all the puzzle pieces fit. It is not a big deal to bring my attention back to the present and sit with things as they are when you are in a good space and everything seems to go with the flow. Bringing my awareness into full focus and breathing calmly into the chaos is where the real practice for me begins.
Every December I spend a little bit of time with a few of my close friends pondering our intentions and looking ahead at the visions of what we are wanting. My dear friend Deven Sisler and I had a few years where we would set as one of our goals, the ability to do a press hand stand. After several years had passed our inversions had become much more refined and stable, and the press still was just on the verge. Deven stated clearly again that "this" year was going to be the press hand stand. I asked , "what is going to be different." She laughed and said, "This year I will really practice my press hand stand." We had a good chuckle.
I look back on that sweet moment with Deven and it reminds me of what practice means. It is more than a thought and setting an intention. Practice of a physical, mental, or spiritual nature requires us to act. The intention is merely the seed that must be cared for to be cultivated. The physical practice helps us understand the concept of work and action at the kinesthetic level and reflects our internal worlds. It is not surprising that many people come to yoga seeking physical relief and find themselves getting much more than they anticipated.
Side Note: My friend and amazing colleague Daniel Scott wrote an article recently called, The Yoga Provocateur Asks: Is AcroYoga Really Yoga? He sums up the movement from a physically centered practice to a life centered deeply connected practice with a beautiful eloquence and charm that is worth the read.
This particular set of lines from the Yoga Sutras for me are all about setting our internal compass. Thoughts of work ethic, personal responsibility, dedication, vigorous pursuit come to the front of my mind. As a know work-aholic I know that I must work smarter not harder. I am realizing that dedication and process must be balanced and that I can continue to refine the choices I make about what I will give my fullest attention to.
"Practice and all is coming", Pattabhi Jois
I have come to the conclusion that I often step into my inner child who is sitting in the back seat of the car annoying my mother with a constant barrage of ,"are we there yet?" statements. Where is THERE in this emotional journey? WHAT is it that I really seek. No matter where I go I always take myself so my inner work is the best place I can think of to be. THERE: for me is a place of consistent contentment with all that I do and the WHAT is refined clarity that will allow the contentment to flourish. This will be the process whether I am on the road our doing my laundry. In every part of what I do I have the opportunity to experience life to the fullest. My dedication is to make sure that I do not disconnect and go on auto pilot.
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Boundless Yoga Staff & Students
We are continuously interested on how our reactions and responses to our personal journeys, albeit travel, adventure, new job, etc. mirror and reflect our social, emotional and spiritual ups and downs. We try every day to apply what we learn about ourselves on the yoga mat to our personal lives. Thank you for tuning in as we share some of those aspects with you.