Tag Archives: acceptance

The Sum Total

Let’s talk about hobbies. When you were a kid and someone asked you what your hobbies were, what did you answer? I asked the question in this morning’s yoga class, and some of the answers I got were dancing, playing in nature, and playing dress-up. Everyone found something in childhood that, after discovering it, found so much pleasure in it that they and (possibly) their friends made it their hobby. What growing up inevitably led to, for those of us who didn’t excel at sports or have the proclivity to do what later was admired, was the moment in the teenage or pre-teenage years when all of a sudden it didn’t matter what your favourite pastimes were, what mattered was what was “cool.” In the name of fitting in and being accepted, we all, to greater or lesser degrees, let what made us happy fall by the wayside, and we re-directed our efforts as best we could to be cool.

The best example of this for me was in high school. All my classmates listened to Pink Floyd and thought they were the dog’s bollocks. I bought the cassettes and CDs, listened to them over and over again, and searched with every ounce of effort possible to find some redeeming quality to the songs so that I could relate to my peers and be able to consider myself at the same level of cool as I held them up to. I went over the songs incessantly, desperately trying to hear what everyone else seemed to be hearing and loving. Suffice it to say that I never heard it (apologies in advance to all of you Pink Floyd fans). I don’t listen to them anymore, but if I should happen to overhear one of their songs playing somewhere, I still find myself searching for something good in it 😉 [SIDE NOTE (and possible future blog): That which is commonly accepted as being good is only popular because it’s commonly accepted. It doesn’t mean it will resonate with you, and it doesn’t mean that you’re missing some chromosome just because you find yourself in opposition to the masses. The masses have been wrong on countless occasions, so believe in your own intuition and forget what’s commonly believed to be true. It’s all relative and subjective.]

My yoga practice very much mirrors what I’ve brought up. I started practicing yoga at home, softly, on my own with flash cards, TV shows with guided classes, books and magazines. And I absolutely loved it. I then inched my way into the yoga community where all of a sudden I felt the pressure to let go of what had initially charmed me so that I could go through the motions of the more intense and physical classes, desperately searching for some redeeming quality. I ended up finding some, thankfully, but nonetheless fell into the same pattern of thinking that the two worlds were mutually exclusive. My initial inquisitiveness and appreciation of yoga as a soft, comforting practice seemed at odds with what I was discovering the deeper I delved into what the yoga community deemed as wonderful. They didn’t need to be at odds, and I have found myself gravitating back to a comfortable middle ground, where the spiritual and philosophical have meshed with some degree of the physical.

Your yoga practice, your career, your relationships and your studies should all be the sum total of who you are and always have been, complemented by what your new experiences bring you. It should be what you want it to be, while remaining open to see what else you can learn, live, and absorb to contribute to bringing you closer to who you are destined to be. Don’t ever feel that you have to give something up to be able to experience more. Not for a yoga class, not for a man, not for a woman, not for a job, not for anything or anyone. Don’t be afraid to incorporate what you already know and love about your life thus far into whatever it is you’re learning. Bring yourself into everything you do.


When the Smallest Truths Effect The Greatest Changes

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write a post, mainly because I’ve been busier than ever with co-managing the studio, workshops, traveling, classes, and the ongoing Luna Yoga Teacher Training. I’ve noticed how my tendency when I get busy is to get things taken care of or executed one by one, while mentally taking note of everything else that is in store for me during the weeks and months to come. More often than not, this allows me to pace myself and make sure I’m ready, rested, and prepared for whatever project is lined up, but sometimes, this approach backfires on me.

If I spend too much time thinking about what’s ahead of me, what I need to do to prepare for it, and what needs getting done in the interim, I sometimes feel stifled, overwhelmed…and it’s through this process that I lose sight of why I’m doing it all to begin with! I have a tendency to be hard on myself…which is why yoga speaks so loudly and clearly to me…it reminds me that I can take a step back, and put my faith in the knowledge that everything will go smoothly, that I will get everything done, and that there’s an omniscient & underlying current of reassurance and peace that is waiting for me to tap back into.

This weekend I’m giving the teacher trainees a lecture on one of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Sutra 1.23 – Ishwara Pranidhanad Va. This sutra speaks to the ability to move closer to a place of truth, peace & light by putting our faith, and the fruits of our labours, towards a higher energy, towards what each and every one of us, in our own way, interprets God as being. Putting God/light/energy into the forefront. From my purely non-denominational point of view, that energy is exactly that – an energy that has taken shape in the form of light in my reality, an energy that is always within me and that I find myself tapping into and falling back on when I most need it. I’ve spoken before about God in yoga (God Talk), and how the practice is often mistaken as a religion, and I’ve also written about how I firmly understand that we all need to believe in something, we just need to figure out what that something is, and then believe in it, wholly and unapologetically (Up to You). Both these points are key in interpreting Sutra 1.23.

Most of us get tested in our belief systems, especially when we come up against an event which (or person who) challenges what we perceive to be truth. It is during these moments of conflict when we struggle to remember why we have placed our faith where it is, and whether we need to reconsider alternate opinions. Taking an opposing point of view is always advisable, if only to be able to put one’s self in another’s reality. When researching Ishwara Pranidhanad Va, I was struck by a moment of brilliance that ever since, has really affected the way I see the world around me, and my place in it.

Here’s my take: in choosing what to believe in, I allow for a certain surrender to take place…to open myself up to my beliefs and where they lead me. Let me be clear here: surrender doesn’t mean giving in to anything or anyone, it means letting go. It means allowing the doubt and skepticism to melt away, so that all that’s left is a connection to what serves me. This surrender leads to something even greater: acceptance. If I allow myself to put my faith in the knowledge that the energy and light is, essentially, the source of all being, then I understand that no matter what happens to or around me, regardless of how incredible or horrible it is, it is all part of my evolution, spiritual and otherwise. Every minor detail, and every major event, all have something within them that offers me information…information to learn from, information to move forwards, information to evolve into who I’m ultimately supposed to be. This allows me to keep doing everything I’m doing, no matter how busy I find myself, with a certain degree of peace that provides a solid foundation for me to keep going. And what makes this acceptance even more incredible is that I know that with it comes the certainty that when I come to a moment of conflict or doubt, my faith in my beliefs remove the need to place my own expectations or demands on anyone or anything else to conform to what I believe should be. I know that whatever happens, it’s all good. It’s all part of my transformation, of my evolution.

Ask yourselves this: if you put your faith in the understanding that all events, conflicts, and encounters are part of your evolution, spiritual and otherwise, then how would your life change? How much anticipatory stress would you carry around with you? How would the way you react to conflict change? How would you change?

Let me know…I’m curious 🙂