Monday, July 25, 2011

Right here, Right now.

For the past few months, my life has been a whirlwind of change-- wanted change and un-wanted change. But, in retrospect, every change that was made, is being made, is going to be made-- they are all completely and 100 percent necessary. As a female who is pretty set in her ways, stubborn, and wants to plan everything out, I have been dealt some interesting waves of change. Although I was convinced things were not going the way they are supposed to, these waves paved my path into my very own transformation. I feel much more full on life, on myself, on my soul, my mind is usually more at ease. My heart is still in a contradicting state with my head, but I will be surprised when or if those two ever really come into perfect alignment.

This is not to say that I don't doubt what goes on in my life, and what God's path truly is for me. Lately, I have been trying to listen so closely to Him, I am writing to him, praying to him. I am determined to hear my heart clearly, but there are so many blockages and residue left over on top of it that it seems almost nearly impossible right now. Everyday, probably at least a handful of times, I think I am not making the right decisions for myself. It's when I come to my yoga mat and start to just, flow-- listening to nothing but my breath-- ignoring the sounds of all the mental burdens and my heart's confusion-- I just let go... and my breath takes me. The plans, the control, the need to know what is going to happen-- all the unanswered questions-- they can just melt away and I am free to simply: Be Me. 

My yoga mat is a place where I am capable of completely letting go and trusting  the movements, the breath, the journey. And afterwards, I feel more equipped and willing to continue on my path, knowing that it will never be perfect and I will sometimes doubt myself... nonetheless, I'll move on through the muck and rise to the surface. So, no, I don't really know exactly what I want right now. But, I am exactly where I need to be. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chitta Vritti

Chitta Vritti is basically the sanskrit term for mind chatter-- that thing that causes all of us to have that "monkey mind". It's that constant flow of thoughts running in and out and all over our heads like fighter jets in the middle of a war-- They come speeding through our mind's surface. Some head straight for another and crash. Some fly away without a second glance back. Some circle around as if they want to threaten our lives. Some drop explosive bombs that linger for quite some time in our mind's landscapes.

So, part of yoga's main focuses is to release our endlessly grasping minds of the burden of this Chitta Vritti. Once a person has really began to reap the benefits of the practice, they start to realize that we can take the reins and be masters of our own minds. We start to realize how much we live in our heads, and how a lot of the time, we are kept from being joyful because of the nonstop mental dialogue- full of judgements, doubts, and endless story lines- some which are completely false and far from reality.

The heart of yoga, to me, is being in the present moment... It's about being complete and content at any given moment- not before this that and the other happens- but now. It's about allowing our thoughts and emotions to be with us (they are not going anywhere), but not letting them conquer us and eat us up and spit us out. It's about being able to distinguish between true thoughts and false thoughts-- the beneficial, necessary thoughts and the ones we can let go of because they simply do not serve us in any way except to take us out of this present moment- the one and only place where our innate joy can always come alive.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shifting from student to teacher.

Today, in my yoga training, all 12 of us had the responsibility of practice-teaching for the first time. When I heard that today was the day, I tensed up and I thought, "Oh no! I can't be ready yet."

I followed directions, and started to create a sequence of warm-ups from my enormous book of postures. I devised my plan, and decided that it would hopefully suffice for my first time. Before it was my turn to teach, I anxiously reviewed my notes over and over again.. Telling myself things like, "Don't forget to tell them they can use the strap during navasana (boat pose)....Don't close your eyes! Don't forget this, Don't forget that."

Despite the fact that I ended up completely forgetting to remind them about the strap and I caught myself with my eyes closed a few times, I loved every minute of my first practice-teach. It made me realize that I am capable of leading students in and out of postures, with ease and gentleness, but also with a healthy dose of challenge and endurance. As I flowed through the postures, and led them through, I felt organic, I felt natural...I felt like I was just hangin' out with my friends. I felt joyful and in love with the present moment. I felt like I have what it takes. And I know that allowing self-doubt to fall away is how I will be able to reach the place where I am teaching to my fullest potential. And I know that will come.

A few days ago, I kept imagining myself, or trying to imagine myself teaching classes, and I has this little  negative voice in the back of my mind, saying, "Can you do that? Can you really provide people with a practice that leads them to joy and peace and acceptance... like other teachers have done for you? Can I provide an atmosphere and attitude for people to feel comfortable in their bodies and minds, help them to let go emotionally, to heal physically, and to relax and rejuvenate after or before a hard day's work?" I wasn't so sure about all that. But, the good news is, the tables are turning, whether that little pessimistic voice in my mind likes it or not. And, the confident and compassionate yogini in me knows I can and WANT to provide all of these benefits to people.

But the main thing I discovered is how compassionate a yoga teacher should be in order  to provide his/her students with the most beneficial and worthwhile practice. Transitioning from the student to the teacher creates a giant shift in perspective and consciousness. Teaching classes is not a self-focused endeavor, like a personal practice, or being a student. It is not about focusing on my inner peace, joy, fear, pain, etc.... It is about theirs. It is about sharing my own deep love and knowledge of the practice of yoga with an entire group of people. My eyes need to be open and connected to see where they are, how they are feeling, and what is or is not working for them. It is more necessary than ever to be complete and 100% present in the moment.