Most think of yoga as a series of postures, but movement or “asana” is only one of the eight limbs of yoga. These past few days, we studied some of the other limbs or teachings of this 5,000 year old philosophy.
After a slow, yummy weekend of gentle movement, meditation, singing, journaling and study of ancient yogic teachings, I just couldn’t bring myself to jump back into “business as usual” Monday morning. So, I took the morning off and created space for contemplation.
Sunday evening as my husband and I sat on our back porch under the stars after my son had gone to bed, I commented, “I have so much to do tomorrow, am I crazy to take 5 hours off tomorrow for spiritual renewal and reflection?” His reply, “Is there anything you have to do that’s really more important?”
I think my strong desire to slow down my “doing” this morning and just “be” (read more from my post on this theme), was my rebellious attempt to in some way suspend time.
One of my favorite things in the world is the opportunity –alone and with my family– to enjoy expanses of unscheduled time.
So in that vein, I moved slowly … locked “time” in the garden shed with the rusty old tools … made myself a big mug of Moroccan green tea … watched the rain … meditated on the back porch … lit a favorite candle … leisurely reviewed my notes and drawings from the workshop … at some salted cashews … and avoided looking at the clock as much as possible.
In some ways I feel it’s my responsibility– after attending a rich, deep workshop like this– to take time off the next day to give these “seeds” some fertilizer, some space to grow before I returned to everyday life. (Nothing like three hours on the computer replying to countless emails to kill a fresh, new idea or perspective!)
One of the Niyamas (a limb of yoga and set of ethical guidelines that when practiced can bring greater awareness and insight to our lives) we explored this past weekend that most deeply resonated with me is Ishvara Pranidhana, which means to surrender. Or, let go of our need to control.
And while I’ve come a long way around control, I still have a long way to go. But I’m noticing the more I can let go—around my son’s food allergies, my husband’s lack of exercise, or scheduling at work—my mind is less busy. My thoughts are fewer and far between. I feel more peaceful and trusting and my overall emotional and spiritual well-being is greatly enhanced. Funny how that happens!?
And, I’m realizing in this moment as I write this, that choosing to chuck my work responsibilities this a.m. and just “let go” was a great way to honor this insight. And hopefully to strengthen it.
Ahhhh, a noise: it’s time. I hear her banging on the old tool shed door. I guess I need to go and let her out. She’s getting impatient. And who knows what would happen if I forgot about her altogether.
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The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly. (Note: This blog post appeared in a similar format in 2010. It is so timely, I had to share it again.)
Painting: Salvador Dali, painter, 1904-1989