For some of us, the search for inner peace is our lifetime intention for starting or continuing a yoga practice. I am one of those seekers. I find that it extremely difficult to avoid getting caught up in the "buzz" of life and at times suffer from anxiety and insecurity. The constant feeling of competition, even in my small community, at times can be overwhelming and creates confusion. I recently studied with the incredible Tias Little focusing on slowing down, enjoying the stillness and going deeper within the subtle body. I am not going to lie - as beautiful as this workshop was, my busy body struggled with quieting the citta vrittis. Some say that yoga is the control of the mind, some say that yoga is union - but are actually unsure of what that is being united.
Yogas chitta-vritti-nirodhah. Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam. In two verses, in two Sutras, Patanjali gives the whole of Yoga. What is Yoga? Yoga is Chitta-vritti-nirodhah – the restraint of the mind-stuff. What happens when the mind-stuff is restrained? Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam. The seer establishes himself in his own Self.
During my studies at this recent workshop, I kept a journal documenting my reflections. What was so special was that everything Tias said, I literally felt like he was speaking directly to me. Like he was really there to be MY teacher and just courteously opened up the class for about 50 other students :) At the very beginning of the workshop, he told us to just allow the absorption process to happen and not try to be constantly thinking, "how can I teach this to others?" and really just enjoy the time of studentship.
In an age of constant acceleration,
Nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow.
In an age of constant distraction nothing is so luxurious as paying attention.
In an age of constant movement nothing is so urgent as sitting still
I struggled with thoughts of being a bad mom for leaving my sweet daughter for a whole weekend after a long work week of shuffling her around to Mom's Day Out, grandparents, and daddy. How could I possibly completely soak in this much needed time of study and studentship if I was longing to be with with my loved ones? Silly, right? FACT: most of our thoughts/fears/anxieties/insecurities/etc. are invented or misunderstandings that we create to stay on this pinwheel of acceleration through life because it is very hard to slow that ride so sometimes it's just easier to stay on. This is avidya. It wasn't until I actually hit the brakes for a few days that I was able to take a good long look at my real life to notice that I have been neglecting my highest Self, which is what I needed the most! I needed to recognize that this teaching path IS my true dharma and my daughter will still love me when I return with a FULL cup!
On the last day, I woke up early and went to one of my favorite sacred places to get some fresh air and meditate. I am so grateful for meditation!!! Meditation is a challenge for the first few minutes but if you can practice discipline to remain still, your breathe begins to breathe you. The struggle turns into ease. The effort becomes rest. And then the opening starts. I always start my meditations with the visualization of opening up the crown of my skull and ask the great spirit to fill me with light and inspiration. Asking this directly from the divine is how we can tap into inner peace and quiet the mind so that we invite Prana into our beings and life. My affirmation was, "I will find a way to live in peace."
From that moment on, I was able to really be present for the last few hours of my training. I forgave myself for being so hard on myself because my inner Self knows that I am doing the best that I can to provide for my family and be the best yoga teacher that I can possibly be. To those of you who struggle with anxiety, depression, and insecurity - I feel you. Today's society is so hard to "keep up" especially when we constantly have the social media "world" looming over us, making us question everything about ourselves. The competition that I spoke of earlier in this post may be a real thing, but it is up to me if I make it real in MY energy. Remember, there is no competition with confidence! I have faith that when I put something out there from my highest Self that there will be those who connect with me and others that don't - and that is A-OK.
Disconnect from your device. Give yourself this beautiful gift of quiet time on a daily basis to connect with your true dharma and Prana. You don't have to be good - just be with what is, even if it is sweet or painful or bitter. Give up trying to solve and just let it be. This does not mean that you are defeated, in fact, in means that you choose to lift yourself up and live in peace.
Thank you, Tias.
OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI <3