Yesterday, I began my thirty-day challenge, thanks to Source Yoga in Tacoma. I've done yoga off and on for at least fifteen years. Sporadic is probably a better word. Moments of real dedication and long spaces of self-doubt and laziness. I realized today that this is exactly how my writing started. There are several similarities as there often are. My yoga informs my life, my writing and vice versa.
Sanmakaras refers to the road blocks, obstacles or shadows that cloud our way. They are impressions stored in the mind and form the basis of our beliefs, attitudes and personality. These are unavoidable but they can be recognized and eventually released. I have had to learn to allow them and accept them before I can let go of them to flow on through, allowing my true spirit to emerge. Too new-agey for you? There is science to back it up, but that is for another post...or not. Here are a couple of my personal shadows:
Coming from a highly Protestant-like spiritual perspective, I have been obsessed with perfection. Perfection in everything, even my thoughts. This hasn't served me very well, at all. For me, this view of life has often left me feeling unworthy and broken. This, much to my relief is something I have slowly, with much effort begun to shed from my life. Yoga continues to instruct me in that direction.
Yoga is about the journey, not the destination. It is a practice, a living, breathing, evolving part of my life, as is my writing. Just as focusing too heavily on the product of writing can block the flow, yoga isn't about achieving the perfect position. In its purest form it is about letting the pose bring you in tune with your higher self.
When I walked into the yoga studio, a wall of hot air slammed into my face. Mats scattered the floor where muscle toned bodies had just finished their advanced practice. Those of us that had been waiting for the meeting to begin joined in the cacophonie of chatter. What was I doing here? Have I made a terrible mistake?
After some jumbling about the atmosphere settled and one large circle formed. First, I was surprised by the sheer number of those accepting the challenge, but then I began to spot others like me. Heads adorned with strands of gray and bodies softer, rounder with obvious mileage on their sinews. Maybe I wasn't so different after all.
The unifying characteristic was the fact that we had all gathered here at this hour, this place, this moment to enter into the same challenge. The energy reminded me why I love this community of yogis: an acceptance and vision that we are together on the path. I did not feel pandered to as a senior or outsider or that others were looking down from their superior position. There was a respect for each others individual paths, unique styles and beliefs. No separating distinctions of level or grade. We were one in our vision and our quest. I was home.
We all have limitations in our health, our age, our own body's individual characteristics, even our minds. The practice teaches us that when we embrace who we are—limitations and all—only then can we rise above them, through them, in spite of them.
Join me on the quest or simply follow my journal to read about my ups, my downs and an occasional epiphany here and there.
Do you have a spiritual practice that is part of your writing ritual?