love laurie

Category: Yoga

Presently Practicing.

While in Kenya, a country where there is a shortage of food, I gained 15 pounds!   Ask me how I managed to do that, I will tell you that it just was not relevant to worrying about such mundane issues. However coming back to yoga practice after 6 months off loomed in my head like a far off grey cloud, leaving me wondering if it was going to rain, or just blow away. My greatest fear wasn’t the yoga itself; it was the thoughts about the 15 pounds that I had gained. And of course I am basing this reaction partly on my peers’ reaction to such a perceived life fail. Last year, while on a trip to Thailand, I got wickedly sick and lost 10 pounds from my already thin frame. Upon my return my peers and students praised the boney ribs gleaming from my thin frame. I could barley hold a posture but I looked good, apparently. Much of my time and effort in Vancouver revolved around how I looked and what other people thought of me…. What a waste of mental energy. In Kenya I was forced to be present in every situation because that is what one had to do to survive. I exercised my capacity to still my mind and I mediated on loving what is and being present with no expectations. Living among the poorest people in the world and watching and conversing with the nakedness of their being I realized how much I wear to hide myself. In the past I put on layer upon layer of things like thoughts and clothing to hide when really I should have been naked. Naked, floating down the stream of my life. Soooo much more liberating than counting yoga classes.

So with this new outlook, coming back to yoga practice was much easier than I thought (sometimes the thought of something is much more painful than the act itself). Within 10 minutes of me de-boarding a plane to Boston via London from Cape Town South Africa I found myself in my first Bikram Yoga class in 6 months. I felt good! The body loved the heat and the stretch. It was kind of like having a conversation with someone who feels familiar who you are getting to know, but know a little bit about already, it felt natural. I never pushed hard even when in the past I had been able to go deeper and I never suffered. I continued practicing yoga because I genuinely enjoyed it and it was exciting to get to know the body and mind from a place of presence rather than from a place of expectation. I whole-heartedly embraced my practice and body for where I was at that moment, in that presence. I think that is the key. Without the expectation of judgment of past or future, where I think I should be, or where I was, I was able to really enjoy myself. And I have to say I look awesome! It is soooo tiring to continually practice with the thought of past and future, give all that up and just love who you are. Right. Now.

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yoga is…

yoga is what yoga does

Teaching yoga, advising the students on thier practice and watching them has allowed me the opportunity to witness a transformation. Students start the yoga with an intention, usually to improve the body, well being and getting back into shape. What they don’t know before they start is how self-reflecting the practice is. Students look at themselves through whatever lens is filtering their mind; self-loathing, self-loving, judging. It could be a mirage of deceptive perceptions of themselves they hide behind to make them feel safe. The ego lives behind this safety. Hatha yoga, any type of yoga in which their movement utilizes a group of asunas; Bikram’s included, is forcing and controlling the mind. Use the body to control the mind. So it is very likely in yoga class you will be looking, feeling, and experiencing a tug of war of the mind ego. The ego mind which refuses to let go of it’s strangle hold of deceptive perceptions which keeps you from experiencing more ______(insert satisfying life goal here)_____. Others easily push beyond their boundaries in a euphoric epiphany that hits them like a tonne of bricks, leaving them reflecting if it was that easy why didn’t I do this before? Working, concentrating and focusing on what the muscles the postures demand eliminates any room for your own ego to exist. It takes all your brain power to “hold it, freeze it, think of it” and that is the beauty of it. There is no space for anything else. Students frequently struggle. They advise teachers of their numerous aliments that they cannot heal, many have been certified by doctors, however I encourage those practioners to make peace with it, do what they can and not make a mountain out of a mole hill. The ego mind loves to make the body weak. Instead of perceiving this illness or injury as a wall, ask what this struggle represents for you in your life, ask if it is serving you as an abundant, healthy individual and move past it to what is just around the corner.