Sunday, November 2, 2008

Embarking on the journey

So many people in the Western world think of yoga as asana practice, the practice of postures or poses. In other words: exercise, a way to lose weight and get fit. What many people don't know about yoga - and what may seem wildly impossible - is that yogis have known the secret of happiness for thousands of years. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, written some time around the second century (although the date of origin is disputed), describe a system that can lead the practitioner away from suffering. Put more simply, in the words of my teacher Lanita Varshell, "life is better when you're doing yoga". The sutras described practices that were already in use at the time, so who knows how long we have had this knowledge!

If yogis discovered the secret of happiness thousands of years ago, why do we now still live in a culture of so much suffering?! And to put it more personally, since this is to be my personal journey, why do I still suffer so much? Why do I forget to practice in my daily life, when I know that it will not only make me happier and healthier, but also decrease suffering in the lives of those around me?

In June, I started a Masters in International Education at the SIT Graduate Institute in Vermont. I chose the school because I believe the SIT philosophy is highly compatible with my attempts to increase the practice of yoga in my daily life. In formulating my learning plan, I stated as my second learning objective "Explore ways to bring my career into harmony with my yoga practice." In fact, this is one of the key reasons why I am doing this degree - to give myself the training and the tools to adjust my working life to facilitate my practice - and yes, cheesy cheesy, to do more good in the world.

Under learning methods, I listed things like:
  • Identify key concepts of yoga philosophy and list potential ways to utilize these concepts within the field of IE
  • Keep a journal to track my reflections on the challenges and successes related to the process of integrating these concepts
  • Practice asana and/or meditation for at least 30 minutes daily

Yesterday was November 1, and I find my yoga practice is as spotty as ever and I have done very few of the things listed in my learning plan. I decided that having witnesses to my journey could be an important component in motivating me to persevere. And there is an added bonus - by sharing my journey, maybe some of you will decide to come with me down the path of yoga. Sometimes we will walk, sometimes dance, sometimes crawl but I hope we will learn to travel with awareness.

Thank you for witnessing me. And walk with me for a while. Namaste.

I'm off to yoga class!


sarahchuu said...

How was class?
I wholeheartedly feel your passion for the practice of yoga. With our big move and settling into a new home I've given myself a lot of slack to adapt. But I feel my focus beginning to blur so I know it's time to get back to my practice.
Best of luck on your journey. I'll be there with you.
Love and Brightest Blessings,

Marlene said...

Everything you say in your blog resonates with me - especially the being hard on yourself! So, as others kindly tell me, try to be good to yourself while you make all those changes for the better.
I'm so glad you're doing this blog, because you'll remind me of all these things I want to learn and grow into for myself but never seem to make time for. So thank you!
and Namaste.

zebraxing said...

Hey Rei!

What a great idea . . . I hope that you not only get your intended results, but many lovely unexpected ones as well!

peace and love,


dragonfly said...

Thank you all for your comments. I'm excited! I hope I can keep it up. :) And I know we are all overwhelmed, so I really hope this blog will help us all focus together. Love to you all!

B said...

I think a blog is a great idea! Your faith in the good that yoga can create continues to inspire me. I hope you keep up with your intent to practice!