This week begins my adventure into yoga teacher training. For the next three months, I’ll be intensely practicing yoga, learning how to teach it, and studying Sanskrit terminology and yogic philosophy. Fifteen hours of my week are now alternately spoken for and that doesn’t include time for required reading and home study. I began to feel that anxious feeling start twisting my thought process about how my teacher training will affect my work here on the blog, my time with my family, and my own sense of well-being and balance.
yoga #2: the equanimous mind
One aspect of becoming a yogi is this idea of having an equanimous mind. An equanimous mind is capable of remaining calm and composed in any situation. Practicing Yoga is a particularly effective way of testing out your capacity for equanimity. Getting into certain poses, facing our strength limitations, feeling powerless over injuries, witnessing our propensities for comparison and jealousy can be felt in just five minutes of practice and knock us off kilter.
It’s sort of funny how some people come to yoga class expecting to leave in a haze of bliss and are shocked when the class has left them way more rattled and stressed than their everyday lives do. It’s funny because we all start the practice believing that. Staying the course, and staying curious about what thoughts you face on your mat begins a long road for mind conditioning.
Of course; our pedestrian lives off the mat hold all of those challenges, too; but practicing yoga is a deliberate act of setting yourself up to meet and engage with frustration, conflict, desire, laziness, intolerance, greed, ego, and jealousy. The mat we stand upon becomes a figurative soft landing for the results of practicing meeting the shadow self we all have within. Equanimity is a state of being; never static, and therefore must always be practiced.
So, I reminded my anxious self of all that today. The truth is that I really don’t know how well I can handle all of it. I may not blog as much or as often. Maybe it will be just shorter posts; but I have to wonder if I just may blog more, too. I won’t see my kids as much for the next three months. That’s really hard. But what else is hard is wanting for over ten years to make this journey and never taking it all the way to completion. I have to admit that what I’m about to do is going to be hard and at the same time love that I’ve made that choice.
The truth is that I really don’t know how well I can handle all of it. I may not blog as much or as often. I won’t see my kids as much for the next three months. That’s really hard. But what else is hard is wanting for over ten years to make this journey and never taking it all the way to completion. I have to admit that what I’m about to do is going to be hard and at the same time love that I’ve made that choice.
Why is it so hard for me hold two competing truths to be true? I’m old enough to have directly experienced that challenges are fertile ground for tremendous growth, despite their discomfort.
The best news is that in challenging myself to take on this commitment; I’ve also set aside copious amounts of time on my mat to practice equanimity about my fears. I have given myself the gift of time to face my beliefs about my own limitations. I’ve had 45 years of practice thinking that I don’t have enough time, that difficult things are bad, and that making choices that are difficult are somehow not good choices. It’s now time to see what happens when I think that there will always be as much time as I need, and those difficult situations that I have chosen can not only be a blessing for myself, but for my whole family, and yes – even you dear reader.
image © Heather Serody