reshaping the ordinary

dance artist, jivamukti yogini, raw foodie, doula and lover, traveling to perform, create and share my light with the world.

Category: yoga

staying the path

as a Bhakti practitioner, or in general as a Yogi, or as any human being who has decided to dedicate themselves something with this precious time we are here on Mother Earth, we start by setting goals, that part is easy… and then life happens. inspiration can fizzle out like a bad romance…. 

seemingly it is so easy to find inspiration these days, just do a search for #inspiration and countless articles images and poems will pop up.
or you can be more specific about what kind of inspiration you want,, #fitspo #inspireart #yogainspo even #inspireconsciousness pulls up a few hits….

but does this ocean of inspiring words and images leave us more inspired or simply more overwhelmed.

unnamed

Krishna as seen floating from my rear-veiw mirror.

 

 

i find the great mystics, the enlightened ones who have come before us provide the greatest of inspirations, some of their texts i call upon daily, to inspire my practice, such as the  मधुराष्टकम् Madhurastakam the Song of Sweetness in praise of Krishna, composed by the Bhakti philosopher-poet Sripad Vallabhacharya, and Tulsidas‘s stotra to Hanuman-ji the  Hanuman Chalisa.
reciting texts such as these, written many years before my time, inspires, ignites and works as an access point to the divine mood (click this link to see Shyamdas-ji’s beautiful description of this bhav, divine mood).

but from there where do we go?

an idea recently presented to me (obvious though radical) is what do YOU say. it’s wonderful to learn the mantras, and the prayers, and the protocol to devotion. but as practitioners of Bhakti yoga, the lila, the play comes in with our own mood, our own ras, our own unique flavor and taste.

hanuman_yantra

Yantra to Hanuman including some of Tulsidas’ Chalisa

 

so i invite you, write your own prayer. your own love letter to the beloved one. devotion is a practice of surrendering, giving yourself completely and with great abandon to something outside of your own ego-ambition. try doing it in your own way, then let me know how it goes!

Jai Shri Krishna

#stopsuicide

There are two wolves who are always fighting.One is darkness and despair.         The other is light and hope.The question is:  Which wolf wins?  . . .      The one you feed.”

and we have the amazing opportunity to choose, what we feed.

every day we have a choice, many choices; what to eat, who to associate with, how to spend our time, where to dedicate our precious faculty of attention.for those who practice mindful living, everyday is a day of reflection. every single morning a chance to begin with gratitude, and progress with deepening self-study, and improvement in our relationship to others, to ourselves and ultimately to God.
living mindfully includes awareness of our thoughts, our words, our actions, what we eat, and how our behaviors affect our inner and outer body/environment.
however, mindful living is not normal. in this speck in time it is quite extraordinary to have even an inkling of this attitude. depression, addiction, anxiety, these are quite more accepted and “normal”.today is Yom Kippur יוֹם כִּיפּוּר  known as the Day of Atonement. in Judaism it is considered the most solemn day of the year, essentially it is a day of forced mindfulness. you fast, you wear white, you avoid leather, you pull away from worldly distractions and focus on elevated intention setting for the year ahead. emphasis is placed on the themes of atonement and repentance. in-fact it is not just one day of mindfulness, it is a week, called the Days of Awe, a period of time set aside for serious introspection, a time to consider the wrongdoings of the previous year and ask for forgiveness, from yourself, from others, from God before the start of the new year.as i sat in Yom Kippur services this evening, reflecting on the year, hearing the wonderful, radical, female Rabbi discussing how difficult it is to look honestly at the mistakes we have made over the year, i felt a surge of joy, yes, of course it has been a hard year. of course there are things, many, many things, i would go back and change if i could. and yet, i feel i have been mindful in my practice, in the practice of living. not ignoring the shame or pain or guilt as it comes, but in each moment working consciously to, pause, breathe, and make an active choice in response, rather than in reaction.
the wonderful Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chödrön teaches to look to the pain. she says suffering can be a great teacher for us because if we look at whatever is coming up for us; whatever hardship or confusion or misunderstanding we are having, we can often discover the source. what is lying underneath that pain, what is the underlying fear or doubt that we are having and just by concentrating on finding that, we can begin to resolve it.it’s like when the house starts to get a little messy, if you spend 5 minutes tidying it up everyday, the mess never gets so out of hand. but if  you leave it, and leave it, and leave it till another time, when you have the time, when you have the time.. suddenly the mess becomes so large it will take a crew hours to clean…. our internal clutter is the same. on this day, many moons ago, my brother fed the wolf of darkness and despair. the mess had been growing too long, become too large, and unfortunately the resources to clean it up were beyond his mindfulness capacity. suicide is an individual, family and community public health crisis with more than 40,000 people dying in America each year. and it IS preventable! the suicide prevention professionals recommend that we ACT:

  1. acknowledge
  2. care
  3. treatment

i recommend that we dedicate our practice, we dedicate our life, every day. that we hold ourselves accountable and seek the association of others who will help us with this project. that we hold close in our hearts those who we have lost, and those who are losing the battle with darkness and despair. and do not wait for one week a year to reflect on our lives. every day show gratitude for even the smallest gestures. every day apologize to those we have hurt. every day remind ourselves to live gently in the softness of our own hearts.

whowethinkweare

YS 1.23 īśvara-praṇidhānād vā By giving your life and identity to God you attain the identity of God.   īśvara-praṇidhānād vā: By giving your life and identity to God you attain the identity of God. This does not mean you become God, rather, you attain God-like qualities: happiness, bliss and ecstasy. This is your True […]

going back to the begining

some mornings, or evenings, or in-betweeenings

you may ask yourself:

how did i end up here.

when did it begin?

what is the root of how things are the way they are.

perhaps it was when i met you in the dance studio.

or:

maybe it was when mom met dad…

but how did they get there.

you can be a victim, or you can be enlightened. what starts out as a light hearted musing can so easily become a depressing regret-filled pit. don’t go down the spiral, why choose sadness?

Patanjali has some good advice on this.

YS II.33 vitarka-badhane pratipaksha-bhavanam

When disturbed by disturbing thoughts, think of the opposite.

finding happy

our true nature is sat-chit-(but mostly)-ananda:

sat: identity, consciousness

chit: mindstuff, existence

ananda: ecstasy, bliss, samadhi

joy, happiness itself, complete at-easement

it’s been said that your belief in god; that which is the true reality, that which we have come from, will be revealed in our actions the moment before eating, if we take just a brief precious moment to give thanks, to offer back. this practice is beneficial in all things, not just when eating. for example, when beginning a practice. sometimes when i do my home asana practice, i forget to dedicate the practice, i’ll feel rushed, and wonder why i am doing this work.

if i set an elevated intention. generally, by means of the ancient mantra, lokah samastah sukihno bhavantu, the at-easement is instant, as counter-intuitive as it seems, by taking some time, we create more time, steadiness & joy.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu 

लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनोभवंतु

May all beings everywhere, be happy and free.

And may the thoughts words and actions of my own life,

contribute, in some way,

to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

why that moment is important, to dedicate your practice, your life to the enhancement, happiness and liberation of others, why that’s so important is because yoga practices are trying to wake us up to the reality, that we are much much more than our limited body/mind container.  than our limited personality. that we are divine, we are eternal, our nature is satchitānanda, our nature is love itself. our nature is happiness. this is revealed to us IF we are willing, to do actions, which will bring happiness to others, and not be so concerned with getting that happiness for ourselves.

so dedicating our practice with words like this ancient mantra, is the first step, and a very easy step in freeing ourselves from selfishness, and selfishness binds us. in ignorance, avidya, not knowing who we really are. not knowing our divine nature. our eternal nature. so we want to do everything possible to free us from the bind of selfishness, self concern, worry about am i getting enough, am i getting what i deserve. etc. etc. so, that’s the exploration. how to be more free, how to be more happy.

the first three of the twelve gardens of Matrimandir, Existence, Consciousness and Bliss represent Sat, Chit and Ananda , the “ Nature of the divine Being ”, at once the transcendent origin and the divine dynamism.

the first three of the twelve gardens of Matrimandir, Existence, Consciousness and Bliss represent Sat, Chit and Ananda , the “ Nature of the divine Being ”, at once the transcendent origin and the divine dynamism.