Archive for the ‘210 days of meditation’ Category

God

Who is God?  Why is the topic of he/she/shim so complicated and controversial?  Part of my summer “to do” list is to read The Bhagavad Gita again for the 3rd time in 4 years.  I am trying and hoping to finally make some sense of it.  So as I’ve started reading it I can’t help but contemplate this God/Krishna/Allah/Buddha question.

My teacher Dharma Mittra ends all his classes by saying “Be receptive to the grace of God”.  Thoughts of “how, what, why, who is this God” spin through my head.  In writing this post this morning, I discovered God has a website God.com  Who knew he was so tech savvy?

Seriously though, I am confused.  Here’s a little background on me so you get where I’m coming from…First through sixth grade I went to Catholic school.  However since I was baptized in the Episcopal church down the street I couldn’t walk up to the Catholic altar with the other kids in the class.  So several times a week when the school had to go to the adjacent Catholic church for service there were a handful of us sweet kids who had to sit back in the pews and observe from afar the altar process.  Hmmm…as a kid this made little sense.  If God truly loves all, shouldn’t we all be allowed up there?  Does God discriminate?

Along with my Monday-Friday Catholic schooling, on Sundays I went to the Episcopal church with my parents.  This lasted only until about 8th grade or so.  Suddenly post junior high, we only went to church for special occasions – Easter, Christmas, etc.  Less church was fine by me given I didn’t know many of the kids at the Episcopal church because they all went to different schools.  Plus, I felt I had enough of the church structure embedded in me grades 1-6 by the Nuns and I was honestly very confused by all the God/Jesus speak.

Fast forward to my 20’s…I’m still confused.  I continued to only go to church for special occasions when visiting family in DE over the holidays.  To me these church trips were nice family time spent in a way that honored traditional holidays.  What threw me is certain people in my life started to be come religious/God fanatics.  For example, every letter/card/gift I started receiving from them always had to have some reference to God.  This was enough to push me away from the God idea.  When did God decide to get into marketing & advertising?

At 29 years of age when planning to get married, my confusion continues…I was content with a Justice of the Peace.  I arranged one and a few weeks before our wedding day I hear “Your Grandmother has always said getting married by the JoP doesn’t count”.  So Brian and I scrambled to find a non-JoP to marry us.  We were referred to a Catholic Priest who can no longer practice in the church because he is married.  I think once again…is God discriminating?  Who make s up these rules?  If God is so loving, why was this nice man excluded from doing his work/service in a church?    Anyway, we interviewed the Catholic Priest who can’t practice in a church in the food court at Potomac Mills Mall.  Indeed it was a very odd place to meet the person who is going to marry us but it was what it was.  By the way, our wedding a couple of weeks later was perfect.

The point of all of this is as I meditated this morning for some reason I thought about God – this mysterious aura that surrounds each of us.  I do believe there is something powerful and beyond each of us that supports every step we take and just as easily at times likes to shake us up a bit (i.e. natural disasters) to get us back on track.  I don’t believe that driving around with GOD RULES bumper stickers and going to church every Sunday is the only way to believe in God.  I am not saying I even know what the way is as I am clearly at 39 still confused (if you can’t tell).  Though something tells me I’m not alone on this.  So as I read The Bhagavad Gita, Talks Between the Soul and God I wonder who is God?  Am I God?  Is God in me?  Is God in you?  God help me make sense of this book.  God help us all make sense of you.

PS:  So far this is the best translation (The Bhagavad Gita, Talks Between the Soul and God) of The BG I’ve picked up.  I highly recommend it.  Maybe my confusion will be cleared up.  One/God/I can only hope!

Blessed -part II

Another reason I feel so blessed by the last month or so is that I’ve stumbled upon a huge turning point in my yoga journey.  I’ve discovered I’m in a place in my yoga practice where I’m really not all that into learning fancy yoga poses and then returning to them on the mat until the next time.  I’m way more curious about digging into the Yoga Sutras and trying to live yoga vs. wrapping my feet behind my head.

I definitely believe some of this self-realization could be a result of being in the presence of so many great teachers within a short period of time this Spring, yet it might also stem from my of 2010 New Year’s resolution to meditate daily.  Committing to meditation has given me a new perspective on many things.  Though this new discovery in my yoga journey could also be a result of one of my main intentions for this year:  to live life as a better person.

This intention is what has really come alive for me over the last month as a result of being with these great teachers.  How can I be a better person on this planet today; not how can I be a better yoga asana practitioner.  Again, who cares if I can wrap my legs around my head?

I’m living based on thinking what can I do to continue to feel and be blessed every moment, and at the same time help others feel the same way.  Ultimately as a yoga teacher, how can I help my students realize they are blessed and they have the power to show others the same.

Blessed

The Washington, D.C. yoga scene is rocking!  Within a 3 week time frame this Spring (end of March – early April) I had the privilege to be in the presence of many great yogis within minutes from my Arlington, VA home.

I took classes with Jivamukti founders Sharon Gannon and David Life when they were here the end of March.  I assisted Baron Baptiste, my primary teacher, during the MyMSYoga event hosted in Arlington, VA.  I attended an awesome 3-day advanced teacher training with Puerto Rico’s David Kyle.  And just a couple of days after that I had the chance to take a workshop with Max Strom on his recent DC visit.

I truly feel blessed to have had this many inspiring opportunities this year, and it’s only the beginning of May!  No doubt I’ve learned a lot of great techniques over the last month to help with my asana practice and teaching.  More than that though, I’ve received a lot of great energy by simply being around these yoga masters.  It might sound kooky but it’s true.  Some of them live and breathe Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  Some of them love to chant.  Some of them have an intense focus on the practice of breathing while another on the importance of bandhas.  Each teacher is so different in their own special way.

Focused, or Lack of

I consider myself very focused thanks to my almost-daily yoga and meditation practice.  For instance, I often have moments of pristine clarity after I finish (or during) a yoga class or my daily meditation sitting.  Thanks to an interest in Feng Shui that started in the late 90’s, I am able to unemotionally purge (clothing, household objects, etc.) on a regular basis.  Most recently, I have committed not to buy any new clothing items (minus what my husband orders me online) until May.

There’s one thing though that I’m not very disciplined at doing…not buying books!  I now have at least six new books I’ve bought since Jan 1st.  I’m reading parts of all of them, but will I finish even one of them?  I admit it’s a rare occasion when I read and fully enjoy a book from start to finish.  Given this book buying addiction has been going on for a few years, I often wonder “what does it mean about me?”

A friend of mine likes to say “well you are a Gemini”.  Horoscopes often speak of the multi-interests Gemini’s possess.  Isn’t that an excuse though?  Our birth sign is really just a general overview of some innate characteristics.  As an avid reader of Buddhist & yoga books I have learned everything has an element of impermanence.  Meaning, nothing last forever; nothing stays the same; everything changes.  This means we can, and ultimately will, change even if our astrological sign describes us as being one way.  Again, nothing last forever.  Even if the habit or way is deeply ingrained, we can change.

So as I write this…do I need to change?  Is it bad that I have a lack of focus and discipline in my book reading?  I sometimes feel like I’m the only one with 10 unread books stacked on my bedside table.

By the way, don’t look at the 2010 reading list page on this blog.  It’s no longer accurate.  Only one of those books is part of the six I’ve bought in the last 1.5 months 🙂  As the Buddha said, nothing stays the same.

My New Year’s Resolution

I always set business and personal goals for each year but I can’t recall every really setting a “core” resolution that I felt whole-hearted about.  Thanks to my good friend Michelle, who moved from Del Ray Alexandria, VA to Santa Cruz, CA nine months ago, I have a New Year’s Resolution that my life will revolve around for the next 210 days.

Here’s how it went down and how I came to select a 2010 resolution:  On Christmas Eve, Michelle called to say “I’m going to surf 200 continuous days in 2010”.  Over the next few days I started thinking I should support her challenge on the East coast.  What can I do? We talked a few days ago and she updates me that 200 consecutive days could be unrealistic with the power of Mother Nature, work, travel, etc. so she changed it to 210 days of surfing in 2010.  And she set up a cool blog:  210 days of waves.  Hmmm…

At first I thought, I should commit to 210 days of yoga the first 210 days of 2010.  Given yoga really encompasses asana, meditation, philosophy/reading, ethical principles to live by (yamas & niyamas), etc. 210 days of yoga seemed too easy.   Honestly, I already do something yoga-related every single day.  I’m a yogini so I live yoga as well as teach it 5 days a week.  To truly step up to the 210 challenge, I decided to turn my aspirations of daily meditation into reality.  I am committing to 210 days of meditation and I’ve set up a new blog a) to keep me honest, b) because Michelle did 🙂 and c) to try something new (daily blogging).

If you’ve been an abellaYoga blog fan for a while, you’re probably thinking “don’t you already meditate?”  Yes I meditate but not consistently.  I sit about 4 days a week for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.  So what does “210 days of meditation for 2010” mean to me?   The answer is here.

Follow our 2010 journeys:  210 days of waves / 210 days of meditation The ride may be bumpy but we’ll do what it takes.  July 29, 2010 is now only 209 days away.