The first inspiration for this morning’s post comes from an email I received from Jenny Dayton … She’s a local Yoga Teacher & I highly recommend ya get on her email list. Message firstname.lastname@example.org or go to Jenny Dayton Yoga.
Her email directly relates to my 2nd inspiration for this post — at 1am I woke with a sore throat & immediately knew why.
Having pushed my mind & body to its limits for decades, Yoga practices & philosophy have been both balms & aggravations ;). When I pay attention to manage my schedule, care for body/mind intentionally, & enjoy people & the little things in life … there’s the balm of Yoga. I become more my Self.
The aggravation of Yoga, for me, is that because of the awareness Yoga philosophy & practices cultivate … I’m beginning to sense more immediately when I’ve gone off the rails. Like at 1am this morning when my eyes flew open … Darnit, sore throat … out of balance.
I know exactly why — I’ve been traveling off/on for 2 weeks, haven’t been sleeping well, & my schedule has been erratic. If you’re familiar with the science of Ayurveda, all of these factors aggravate Vata dosha. Add on the characteristically Vata season of Autumn … You’ve got a grand mix for potential imbalance. (& I’m mentally aggravated about it bc I’ve got a good dose of Pitta in me too, haha!)
Don’t know about Ayurveda, doshas, or imbalances? Head to The Himalayan Institute & seek out Dr. Vasant Lad, or his student Kathryn Templeton. We’ll be doing a brief overview this Saturday in my Yoga & Ayurveda workshop too!
The blessing within my aggravation is that I have tools from Yoga & Ayurveda to work with my body to rejuvenate & heal.
One tool is to slow down. Vata is air & movement. Which can be good for getting things done, for creative work, for inspiration. However, when out of balance, there’s TOO MUCH movement, flighty-ness, & chaos. Ayurveda asks us to do the opposite to return to balance:
S L O W D O W N.
Which brings me back to Jenny’s email.
Jenny wrote about taking a break from her yoga teachung schedule … GASP … that her love for teaching Yoga does not outweigh her own well-being. This statement hit home for me — I had messaged Caitlin at 4:30am to please cancel my morning yoga asana classes — & was feeling pretty badly about that. That I’m not dedicated to the people. That I am weak for not being able to push through. That I’m lazy. That my income will stagnate.
These mind spinnings are in our collective DNA — Western society was built on the human body (& if we are truth-telling here, black & brown bodies disproprotionately) as a machine to be worked to its limit, and/or death, in the name of growth, capitalism, Manifest Destiny.
How many of us have stayed at work to “get one more thing done,” or gone to work sick, or shamed ourselves or someone else for not working as hard as we think we/they should?
This ain’t right, people. This isn’t who we are.
Yoga is about self-realization. The oft-said “we are human beings, not human doings” & “we are spiritual beings having a human experience” comes directly from Yoga teachings, & can be found in faith traditions as well. Yet how many of us have forgotten this?
I know I do. Regularly.
So today I’ve cancelled classes & am staying home from other work. This, according to one of my fave IG accounts The Nap Ministry, is an act of resistance against the modern “do til you drop” mentality. Self-care is also community care, by the way. You do others & those you love a service by retreating from society to heal (& protecting them from your germs!).
I hope you will be as inspired by Jenny’s example as I am. Those of us who purport to practice Yoga MUST seek to practice in its entirety, not just the easy or fun parts, if we are to help the world WAKE UP.
So, where’s the humor of the Universe in all this? I’m facilitating a “Yoga & Ayurveda for Immunity” workshop tomorrow … in the planning for months …
It seems I will be Exhibit A.
Take your Yoga seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously.
See ya soon, Friends. Now back to my turmeric milk & nap.