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Yoga as the Antidote to Being Stuck

April 2010: metroSPIRIT

 
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Many pursue yoga for the physical benefits of strength and flexibility. This is particularly true in our culture but there’s much more than mere physical benefits to be gained from experiencing the disciplines and delights of ­a yoga enriched lifestyle.

 


 

The physical aspects of yoga are great; however, over the years, I have come to appreciate the psychology and philosophy of yoga as much as the physical.  Recently, Omaha was blessed with the presence of Tias Little, an international yoga teacher trainer. Tias came to Omaha through his connection with Theresa Murphy, co-owner of One Tree Yoga.   At the training, Tias taught teachers the details of the physical poses, details of the anatomy and details of the philosophy. Of particular interest was Tias’s ability to explain the connection of being physically stuck to being stuck in other ways.  This article shares some of the philosophical thoughts taught by Tias.

Be in the Present Moment

Every day the training began with a sitting practice.  We noted the interruptions of “to do lists” and thoughts of others.  Often, we are so focused on our expectations of where we think we need to be, that we miss the present moment.  We get caught up in “What’s Next? and “getting there” that when we do get “there” we aren’t actually there because we are looking toward what is next. When we don’t live in the present moment, we miss our appointment with life.

Constantly seek to live in the moment at hand.  If the moment is difficult, learn to “stay with the sensation” of that moment.

Meditation Brings Contemplative Awareness

Meditation allows us to bring ourselves into a state of contemplative awareness.  Meditation can be like an archaeological dig into the inner being.  Meditation is a practice of centering oneself and becoming aware of one’s thoughts. Taking the time to do so provides the opportunity to help us determine where we are stuck.  We might be stuck on something that happened twenty years ago or we might be stuck on something that happened the night prior.  When you take the time to slow down and observe your thoughts, you create the opportunity to move through and become “unstuck”.

Meditation is about raising awareness and noticing what is coming up.  It is when we ignore what is coming up that it manifests in such forms as addiction or depression or rage. 

If we stay very aware of what is coming up, we can achieve bio-chemical changes.

Blossoming is a Process

In our society, we expect ourselves to be in a constant state of blossoming but the natural cycle of life is really one of alternately budding and blossoming. Sometimes we turn inward “into the bud.” The bud is less open and more introverted.  Learn to honor the “bud” phases of your life as part of a natural process.  Blossoming is an ongoing process. We don’t one day achieve a “perfect state of blossom.”

Seek to Be the Change that You Seek

At the training, one student asked “What should I do when I know someone really needs to change and they won’t listen to me?”   Tias commented that we should look to our own reactions to anyone or anything that annoys us.  When we find ourselves judgemental or angry with others or outside circumstances, the healthy response is to look at how we are allowing ourselves to be affected.  Are we breathing more rapidly, clenching our fists, tightening our jaw?  If so, we have now internalized what we don’t like outside of us. It is always a matter of working with our internal state and reactions first. 

It is not people or other circumstances that cause us problems. It is what is inside. When we change our relationship with our thoughts, we can free ourselves from the effect of what is going on externally. When you are distracted by thoughts of others, take a moment to bless their path and let the thought pass through. 

Connection of the heart and mind PRECEDES encounters with outside circumstance.

Use Death as Your Advisor

Death is not an anomaly and it will arrive.  “The thing to do when you are impatient is to turn to your left and ask advice from your death.  An immense amount of pettiness is dropped if your death makes a gesture toward you, or if you catch a glimpse of it, or if you just have the feeling that your companion is there. “(Carlos Castaneda)

“I should be content to look at a mountain for what it is and not as a comment on my life.” 

David Ignatow
 

Be Prepared

Stuff will happen in our lives. If we are running through life at a mad pace unprepared and unaware, we will resort to “fight or flight”.  In meditative states, we can practice dealing with any circumstance that arises in a centered manner. Be prepared!

Activate the Bio-Energetics of Loving Kindness

You can save yourself a lot of irritation if you pre-orient your disposition toward openness and kindness. You may not like someone at work. You won’t like getting stuck in traffic.  Seek however to stay open in the midst of like and dislike.  If you allow yourself to be “stuck in traffic”, you compromise your ability to achieve your highest potential.

Stay the Course

A poem by Juan Ramon Jiminez is illustrative: 

Oceans
I have a feeling that my boat
has struck down there in the depths,
against a great thing.
            And nothing
happens! Nothing... Silence... Waves...

Nothing happens? Or has everything happened.

And we are standing now, quietly, in the new life?

So often, we give up just a moment too soon. Stay the course. Stay with the sensation or the lack of sensation. Something does happen when we allow the time for stillness. Be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.

-end- metroMAGAZINE


 

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