Get involved in your most important relationship in life, you know that one we all forget about and never truly honour but when we do most things seamlessly fall in to place. No not your Mum, oooorrrrr your partner, or your best friend, or in my case my dog. None of these even come close. You need to get involved with yourself!
What does this have to do with yoga I hear you ask? Eeevvveeerrrryyyttthhhinnnngg !!
You wouldn’t dream of getting up and going to work, school, errands in the morning without having a shower so why not look after yourself on a few other levels first too?
Let’s start with the ‘basics’. Yoga comes from the sanskrit work ‘Yuj’ meaning union. Personally for me this is exactly what my personal concept of yoga was, bringing the union of our body, breathe and mind letting all come together and melting in to a pose, or meditating, or even pranayama for that matter.
For me this is not to add to an existing ‘me’ I am quite certain after in depth consideration & debate with my teachers and retreat friends that this ‘me’ does not exist & for someone who doesn’t actually exist, she gets me down the garden path quite often. So my theory, is actually not adding anything at all. I am just peeling back the layers, like an onion one layer at a time and if they come back I know to observe it and let it ride on by.
To be besties with yourself (ok & your dog) I would say that your best effort (tapas) towards the first four limbs of yoga is best.
I’ll give you the quickest break down on that possible.
Yama – a universal morality code which is my ‘Not To Do List’….1)AHIMSA : No killing, non violence. Towards ourself & all others, for me that even includes ants, I’ve vowed not to kill them or anything else and for that I truly do try 2)SATYA: No Lying, Truthfulness 3)ASTEYA : No stealing, Freeing yourself from jealous instincts, again I take this quite seriously and even try not to download illegally, what part of me really does need this? 4)BRAHMACHARYA : No sexual conduct or misconduct, channelling & living like Brahma/God. For me I look at this like Buddha Nature as if how I treat myself now is making a path for that inner enlightened being that will happen in a few billion years 5)APARIGRAHA : Non ownership of anything that gives suffering to someone, abstaining from greed. You can take this literally or look this up on your own, for me I think no Ivory .. the elephant didn’t want to give me that !
Niyama – Freedom From Observances *sigh* it just sounds lovely when it’s put like that…but what is it you ask? It’s My To Daily To Do List 1) SAUCHA To purify thought & action = Kriya Yoga … my favourite yoga (yes I do have many) Cleaning of All our airways basically, eyes, ears, nose & all the holes basically 2) SANTOSHA Contentment with pure and still joy. Not acting to up in the air or too down low. Just calm like a clear blue day if you will with that peaceful joy. 3)TAPAS Each performance is your BEST performance 4) Union of the devine through self study 5) ISHWARA-PRANIDHA perhaps one of my favourites because we all get caught with this little monster .. Surrender of the ego. Your ego is shattered and your true devine nature is embraced.
So much to do and you’ve just woken up to start the day right? But actually this is quite possible, easy in fact personally the tricky part is keeping it going. Which brings us to ASANA in sanskrit this means to take seat here. So when we go from pose to pose it’s important to try and do the following to qualify as ASANA the following criteria must be met 1) BREATHE yep I get it sounds mandatory, but you’d be amazed at how often we get this one wrong. Inhale, then exhale deeper in to the pose just a little longer than your inhale if possible, even better while your doing this use UJJAYI breathing. 2) DRISHTI our gazing point, for this we have 9 points. Breathe consistently and fix your gaze 3) Mind (Manas) Your mind should be focused on 1. Your heart chakra (Anahata) 2. Your Third Eye (Ajna chakra) 3. Your Throat Chakra (Vishuddha Chakra) .. and in class we have been told that if we can do all of this with just 1 ASANA that we will have created good causes and conditions for our next re-birth and hey if I’m working on good karma I’m up for it.
And then that brings us to one last thing to do to get up close and personal with yourself and just being best friends with yourself.
PRANAYAMA Prana = Vital Life Force Ayama = Expansion. This is the short explanation. It varies from which type of pranayama you do and time, etc but these are very much incidentals what we want to focus on for those of us who are physically and mentally capable which we owe to ourselves to look in to before we practice is the retention, this kinda like the frosting on the cupcake, it will help you with things like your lung capacity and bring that heart chakra wide open for yourself and the world and that is just a couple of words on it! Pranayama is a fascinating subject and I encourage you to go out and find out as much for your can and to incorporate it in to your daily routine, and for me I meditate for just a few minutes with it as well and I find that little piece of my inner emptiness so I can go out in to the world with a great big heart for one more day.
Doing all of this takes time and if I manage this in just a few lifetimes I’ll be greatful.
Until then remember when you’re practicing yoga you are doing it all for you 🙂