OH NO! It just stopped … But let’s keep going!
Danger in Attachment to Thoughts
Where it gets dangerous is when those positive and negative thoughts grow to something more vain and draws you further away from center. “I wasn’t able to practice my yoga today because my back hurt too much,” turns into “I just can’t do yoga. My back just isn’t flexible enough.” This negative thought becomes a judgment and you go from “I won’t” to “I can’t.” Or, worse yet, you take what happened that moment (present feeling) and turn it into a belief (character label – not worthy of doing) WOW! I’m giving you one example, but we do this all the time in all areas of our life.
On the other side, where it might have started as a positive thought, that too can become dangerous. How so? Well, vanity is two-fold: how dare we assume entitlement on non-deserving as well as over-deserving? “I have so much strength, I can do this yoga no problem.” Or “I’m flexible so yoga will be easy for me.” Then, when we start to lock the knee and can’t hold it, we become frustrated. Our positive kick-off to a yoga routine pushes us into adjusting the posture. We rationalize and excuse the change, saying “my body needs to do it this way.” Again, this is just an example of how we might take a positive thought and grow into a pompous view that takes us away from my center.
Center. What is that anyway? And why is it so important? Quite honestly, I think our “center” changes as we age, meaning as we derive more knowledge and come to apply it as wisdom, we then recalibrate our center. I think God is funny as we achieve our center only when we go back and forth on information contrasting the waters until stillness is arrived. Given the task at hand, stillness may take awhile. It will ebb and flow with circumstance. But when resolution does set in, the nervous system responds being more relaxed and calm. So, feel good about your struggles! In fact, Bikram will tell you that negative thoughts are nine times more powerful than positive thoughts. Take that as a blessing– nature is telling you to fight! The fight is impetus to re-center, over and over again.
We forget that we were born to live with joy. We forget that we were born to do great things with our lives. I listen to a lot of Gary Vaynerchuk. If you don’t know him, he’s 21st century Renaissance man and I encourage everyone watch just one of his DailyVees. In just 15 minutes, you will be shocked, inspired, and drawn to his insight. He is an entrepreneur of life in the digital age. Gary points out that your chance of being born is one out of 455 trillion – yep? Really? Check out those crazy odds! Let this fact influence how you approach each day and realize how lucky you are – me too! You don’t need to earn joy – you already won the lottery, so use what you have been given and enjoy!
Finding Your Center by Remembering
Centering is really remembering. Push and pull tugs are inevitable. Without those, you won’t grow. But, the centering of those forces will help you remember who and what you are. You sharpen your focus so much that your authenticity grows. How you present yourself to the world becomes stronger, louder, more confident and with greater impact to the meaning of your life. Pretty cool!
I’m often amazed at the irony in some of the things right under our noses that are put in place for us to help us remember. It’s like those V8 commercials where something hits you in the head, and you wake up.
For instance, water. I am just blown away at how much better I feel when I simply drink more water! Over the holidays, I visited my sister and she drinks so much water. Water everywhere in the house, in her car, in her purse, and we even went to Walgreens way past midnight to get more water! So, I went right along with it and I have to say, I wasn’t as tired, I didn’t feel bloated, my digestion was good, and my hair was healthier. Even as a yoga teacher of 18 years that should know something about water, what a reminder on the importance of water! The body is 80% water. The brain is 80% water. Guess what? It’s free and has no calories.
I have a wonderful homeopathy Doctor, Dr. M is what I call him. I’ve been seeing him well over 14 years now! He’s the best and has helped me so much over the years. I find it so ironic that the items he gives me are the very things that I’m complaining about! The idea is to give just enough of the “dog that bit you” so that your body can empower itself to resist that bite, making your immune system stronger and thus remember what it’s supposed to do!
Well, so does Yoga. Yoga brings you back to what you were always naturally meant to have! Like Bikram screaming at someone from his high podium watching a broken body attempt to get in a pose. He will shout at them to keep going, despite the fact that they’ve come in at “minus 10,000,” as he would say. They have to struggle and practice a long while before they even hit 0! And that’s ok. That slow process actually strengthens that person even more over time, as their body was put in overdrive to remember how to heal. In class, we use the opposing forces of compression and stretching to bring us back to center. Then, as we improve, those opposite forces shift and change.
New Year, Trust the Process
Remember: be attentive to the aches you feel but don’t judge them. Be aware of the negative and positive thoughts you have, but don’t feed them. When we feed such thoughts, they become habits and eventually character flaws. In other words, struggle to just be. Trust the process–without getting in the way. Your ability to allow all that information to bounce back-and-forth from you to your reflection in the mirror will automatically (over time) weed out what’s not real and take in what’s true. Your life will feel more satisfying because you are coming from a more centered place, a place of truth, that place of remembering.
As I was saying on the video, and as I shared with the January 1st class, our goals and resolutions are there for us to have. A new year is a gift that motivates us to look more clearly at what we want and can have. But, we can only receive that gift when we have a clean body and clear mind. That takes self-awareness, which your yoga practice reminds you every time you are in the room struggling. “Then, Spirit knocks on your door and asks if you will join him in this big feast he has set for you at his table in his house,” as described by Bikram. Then you really join: mind, body and spirit as one and love–the kind of love enlightenment delivers–ensues!
It’s 60-Day Challenge time at Bikram Yoga San Jose. If there was ever a time to remember to clean up and clear out your body and mind, it’s NOW with 60 consecutive days of yoga, done with your peers in a community that supports you the whole way! Sign up and start remembering what’s available to you and make your year fulfilling as you resonate with the real you.
Happy New Year!
Michele Vennard, BYSJ Owner & Founder