Monday, February 18, 2008

Snow eh!

I was excited it was only -8 degrees Celsius! The deep freeze we were living in was unplugged a week ago, and I was looking forward to actually getting on the mat without being frozen; even more so to having a long lingering practice...

Then I looked outside... Now maybe if you are melting in Thailand it looks like a winter wonderland, but dang the extra 15 minutes I thought I had for my practice was just re-assigned to snow removal.

With no one around and a feeble grumble I started sweeping the car clean.
I was reminded of what my teacher would say, "the mind wants to be negative," and in the snow that morning it wasn't hard to watch this mind gravitate towards negativity... (especially when I can remember loving days like this as a kid).

There is no debating that in Canada we have 4 seasons. In the winter season things slow down, even our practices, and so it becomes even more important to remember ahimsa in our interactions. This ahimsa, "non-harming," or "non-violence," applies equally to ourselves as it does to anyone else that we interact with. To practice Ashtanga Yoga, we must bring attention to all the limbs and luckily asana helps us with this.

Of course in the end, seasons come and seasons go, postures come and postures go, stiffness comes and stiffness goes. To dwell in impatience and criticism of ourselves or others, or the situations we are in, is to misunderstand the necessity of practicing ahimsa, and to miss out on a great opportunity to practice yoga more fully in our lives.

But Dang! I'm looking forward to spring!
Until next time... Be Blessed! J

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Canadian Winter

Dang!! It's cold here in Canada!! ... It was 3:00 am and -49 Celsius (-56 Fahrenheit) the last couple days when we were making our way to the shala to practice, now for those of you tuning in from Thailand for the first time, that is like living in your freezer. Public transit wasn't running because the doors were freezing open or closed, if you could start your car the wheels were frozen more square than round and bumped along for the first 10 minutes of your drive, and if you had any uncovered skin exposed it would freeze causing frost bite in under 2 minutes... Even the "momma deer" wanted to bring her baby inside...

Oh, how we were missing India and Thailand...

I guess you can't help but question your life choices when it seems more sensible to hibernate than to crawl out of bed from under piles of warm blankets. Even in the heated room of the yoga shala my body never wanted to get warm and I felt the the mental resistance to doing my asana practice.

Oh, the tricky mind, it wasn't to hard to see that I had formed a strong attachment to the warm climates of India and Thailand, developing a craving for the internal heat that makes me feel so bendy, and the desire to "perform" asana rather than "practice" asana in the moment. Patanjali who gave us the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga tells us to achieve our goal we must practice and be non-attached or non-dependant.

This week it is the Canadian winter that is reminding me to take heed of Patanjali's words, to practice with sincerity and detach from the results. Yoga is so much more than asana, and it's clearly time for me to review the Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga.... but more on that in a couple of weeks...