Each night when I sit on my bed with my laptop, ready to write about something which has either happened during the day or inspired me, I often find myself a little stuck. Unsure where to start. At night, when I reflect upon the day just gone, I always, and without fail, find so many things to smile about. To be grateful for which I want to share. And I feel yoga has given me this amazing gift where I actually notice so much. So how to capture all of this?
Trapped in an office at home, my sky was quite a bit duller. I missed so many things because I wasn’t being true to myself. But with more clarity now, I realise it’s not that the sky was dull, it was my light that what dimming. It was stifled. Now - the unaware person may accept this as life. But someone who knows there has to be more, has tasted it and is then placed back in a cage which offers no fulfillment, will never last. I would never have lasted. I had to make the break - and fast. And the risk has been all worth it. I see colour now. A simple flower in a pot brings me so much joy. Walking home with my shopping, in the heat of the day with all arms full and heavy, and my shopping suddenly falling through the bottom of the bag, gives me something to laugh about. With apples and tomatoes rolling down the hill, what else can you do but laugh! Before, I would not have seen the funny side. A light heartedness, which is who I truly am, has returned. For that, I will always be grateful.
So, back to the experiences or moments which have inspired me, encouraged me to reflect or challenged me deeply - today there were many. I think this requires subtitles…
I’ve never attended philosophy classes before now. My only exposure to anything philosophical has been through chatting with Owen. I love our discussions. My curiosity about deeper ideas in the world means some interesting, and often challenging discussions follow.
My teacher here is a great philosopher in Mysore and his ability to explain some of the most complex ideas through metaphors and storytelling is a true gift. He has an entire class sitting before him on the floor just listening intently to his every word, smiling back at the man who is constantly smiling at us.
But something I came to ask myself in a quiet moment was; “what’s the point? We go to so much trouble to be more aware people, to better grasp these - what seem like - riddles of life, and for what? For it to all end one day. So what’s the point?” A very negative question to ask, but an honest thought. I’m watching this man sit before me, bestow such incredible knowledge and insight about the world upon us, but soon he will be gone and so will his lifes work. What a tragedy. Or is it? As Owen pointed out to me today, his teachings will go on, through us and we too may inspire others to dig a little deeper. To start asking questions. I guess this also goes back to Jungs quote; “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It’s very true. I will always ask questions in life. You see life differently when you start to ‘notice’ things. It’s not necessarily an easier life, as reality can be cruel in its many forms, but it’s truth. I guess this is why I love philosophy. It challenges my beliefs and it encourages me to look at the world in a different way. To be more conscious of what is happening out there; physically, emotionally, spiritually. This is where understanding lies - I think??? I have a long way to go!
Today we were talking about hypocrites. People who think, say and do differently. But the point of this discussion was to highlight that it doesn’t matter what costume you wear, whether it be a policeman’s uniform or dress as a surgeon, if you are not trained to complete that job and do not possess the right attitude then you shall never be able to attain it. For the person who has taken a vow of silence but uses his hands to gesture - he has missed the point of this vow. Or for the person who fasts but eats a huge meal before doing so, he too has missed the point. If one claims they are a Sadhu but in their mind they have awful thoughts of people, then he shall never be a Sadhu. Just as a person who dresses up in Lulu Lemon yoga clothes with matching mat might think they are a yogi and achieving something higher, without the awareness, they will never be a yogi. This is only a costume. And they are merely some movements.
One final thing here. The word Ajana in Sanskrit essentially means we know less than everything we know. We think we know so much, but really we know nothing. Take a moment to think about this. I found this to be a very powerful statement, one which I think many people have never thought about. I’ve not thought about. Yet it’s so very true.
I love how Bharath teaches. Chatting with another student, we are very confident he will be a Guru one day. A young Guru. His insight into the practice, the world, people, is phenomenal. Something which I love about his style of teaching is the fun he has with the class. For example, sometimes he may come and do an asana with us, joke with us when we are all collapsing on the floor trying to move into some form of ‘body-mousetrap’ move, and my favourite - he always reminds us to smile when he knows our minds are running wild with thoughts of; “Hurry the f**k up! Breathe, breathe, is it a minute yet, breath, i’m slipping, breathe…” He is very aware of what we are going through - physically and mentally. So his ability to try and lighten the mood (if you like) while we are intently focused on making it out of the asana alive, is amazing. I don’t know about everyone else, but I always find myself smiling when he reminds us to, and although I’m on the verg of passing out, the asana somehow becomes that tiny bit easier. Such a simple thing he does which makes every class so memorable.
This mornings Vinyasa class was another challenging class (and we found out tonight he’s about to step it up as of tomorrow), but I noticed toward the end of class I was beginning to crave Powerade. Often our bodies will tell us what it needs if we just listen, and I knew mine was lacking salts. Luckily I have Hydrolyte tablets which I took when I got home. It’s a lovely feeling to be so intune with your body that you can notice such subtle but hugely important signs.
Tonight as I was trying to maintain balance in a particular asana, I was watching the tendons, muscles, nerves etc all working together to keep my foot firm on the floor. I would notice the slightest movement in my little toe. Even if a toe had ever so slightly lifted from the mat, I could feel it. Bringing it back just a millimeter could make all the difference to my balance. It’s incredible. This is the beauty of yoga. You are literally playing with your body. Working it out, Feeling how it moves, where is comfortable, where is tight. And anyone can do this. That is such a gift.
In closing, take time to notice and appreciate. Whether it be a flower, a smile, an awkward experience - whatever it is, notice it and be grateful for it. These are the things in life which bring meaning.
Loving my bathroom decor!