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After my prenatal yoga training in Asheville, NC a week or so ago, I feel like I have come full circle spiritually and in my path of becoming whole. Not only did I get some girly time to myself, I got to immerse myself in yoga, birth, and teaching, three of my most favorite things. I am back to the Hatha style of yoga. I’m following my heart. It led me there, and currently I’m into Baron Baptiste and Vinyasa.
In the video I’m doing, Baron at one point says, “struggle less, breathe more.” Friday of last week it just clicked. He also says “breath is free. breathing is free.” Struggling is not free. Efforting can feel so much like forcing. Efforting feels like impatience. Why not breathe? Why not let go of the struggle, and allow the Creator to work? Living now is all we have. Doing our best in the moment. Living in the moment, instead of rehashing the past or pushing for the future. The time is now. If we don’t live now, we are missing life.
I quit trying to push myself into asanas (poses), and instead I grounded myself through my feet and hands, and I used the breath. I felt peace rush over me. There was nothing I had to do. I felt my muscles release in the work. I was connected to earth through my body and the life force through my breath. I felt free.
I think of all I try to do with my life. All the time tables I give myself, and the preconceptions of how I think things should go. I analyze little things – glitches – and read into them much more than is there. I don’t trust that the Creator will lead me through. I don’t trust that where I am is exactly where I should be. I don’t wait for the Creator’s time. I don’t live in the time I’m given. I keep struggling, thinking that I must push myself, or try this or that to see if it brings me forward. I keep doing this despite the fact that I see it mostly resulting in wasted time. I keep doing this even though most of my moving forward happens through the Creator bringing connections to me, and none through my efforts. It’s like an addiction almost. A need to have my hand in the mix, as if somehow I can influence anything through effort.
No, we make changes, progress, and find ourselves by letting go. By breathing and doing only the work that is ours to do in that moment. By being mindful. Listening for that still small voice. By not judging success by numbers, but by quality, and giving the glory where the glory belongs. Snatam Kaur sings in “By Thy Grace” – “one day the day shall come when all the glory shall be Thine. People will say it is yours and I will deny not mine.” What a happy and amazing day – the day we can acknowledge that. Know it with our hearts and live in that peace. Living not to in and of ourselves make changes, or influence events, but to let it pass through us in the moments we are given and the connections brought to us.
It is – “Be still and know that I am God.” That is what it is.
I wrote yesterday a little bit about my finding my way to yoga. I’ve been toying with yoga for about ten years. I’ve never really had what I would call a “serious” practice in that time period. That is if the criteria for “serious” is incorporating all eight limbs of yoga. I practiced more as another variation on the word “exercise”. The closest I ever came to really doing yoga was during my pregnancies with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and Shiva Rea DVDs along with some studio classes. I was more about tuning in with my little beans than tuning in with God or my inner self at that time.
I really enjoyed the Gurmukh DVDs during my pregnancy, and when I realized that the type of exercise I was doing (high intensity aerobics) was exacerbating my health issues (thyroid, stress, and exhaustion), I started with her. The type of yoga she teaches is called Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is the most ancient form of yoga and was introduced to the west by Yogi Bhajan in 1968. Kundalini yoga suits me very well because while I need restorative exercise, I really like to exert myself. Kundalini yoga allows for both. It is appropriate for all people in all types of conditions and age ranges.
I’ve been exploring the different aspects of yoga and doing Kundalini and Vinyasa styles. In my search for an authentic, traditional life, I place great emphasis on doing things the way they were meant to be done. I have been researching the “real” way to practice yoga. I have found that it stand aside from religion, and I have found it extremely helpful in reconnecting me with my own spirituality. I’ve been using my yoga time as prayer time. I am a Christian, and the original mantras work so well for me. My favorite right now is Sat Nam – truth is my name. It is such an uplifting thing to repeat as praise, a reminder, or a prayer.
I have bred in me an unrest. I see impatience in many members of my family. The impatience leads to worry and stress. It has really affected my mothering. I am so impatient with the girls. For over a year now, I’ve been trying to beat this troublesome attribute with not much success. Yoga is teaching me how to go about ridding myself of it. Many of our problems come from alienating the various parts of ourselves. We think of physical, mental, and spiritual parts of our being as different and often conflicting. Yet, one part can’t work properly without the other. We can’t know our full potential in this life without working to connect them all. We can’t rely totally on ourselves either. There is much more to life than us.
Gurmukh says something that I used as my mantra during my savasana time today. “Let go and let God.” As I heard John caring for our girls in the background, instead of wishing for peace and quiet, I embraced what was going on. I let go of that impatience and I let God take care of me. I can tell you right now, I was in much better hands.
* Update: I wish I could let it go everyday. That will be a never ending goal. Today has been a trial.