Tag Archives: self-awareness

For today, a list of 8 things I believe that I know to be true :

Stay creative, stay open wide, and steer clear of certainty, for it mocks the spirit’s nature of freedom. As the noise of the news is deafening, and I can only stomach so much atrocious information at one time, this is my practice of late. It is like a sweet salve for the parts of me that border on obsession and anxiety to figure out the truth, right now, and fix the issue. My wise and candid Father recently emailed me a link to a list that well-advertised his disposition of keeping a beginner’s mind. One of the most curious humans I know, my father explores the world with childlike wonder. I am blessed to have such a teacher and guide, and found 25 Ways To Kill the Toxic Ego That Will Ruin Your Life to be a funny peek into the state of humanity. The precepts are simple, happy reminders to stay present. The language is wholly approachable, and each facet provides a conversational channel to deeper spiritual teachings.

How easy it is to be swayed into the camp of certain doom, and absolute disgust, when faced with the facts and anti-facts of today’s cacophonous media soundscape. But, I was reminded this week in a community talk about resiliency (thanks, Kyle and Jan!) that it takes time to digest hard information, just as I know so well the slow and uncomfortable process of digesting foods that don’t sit so nicely in my guts. I have been led by fear and anger to make sheer judgements based on fear-producing newscasts before, ok, many times, but am encouraged by things like this new-age-y list with decided inquiry. A doomed planet, rampant hate on and off the streets (in seats of office), and disarray in the pockets of policy that are supposed to be arranged so neatly are not the only news, they’re just the loudest. Reading through the lines is super hot right now, and there are bushels of good people doing good things to meet the challenges of an awkward start to 2017 on earth.

The recent momentum in industries of self-help, wellness, and practices like yoga points to a pursuit of health and peace and happy, as a cultural theme. I happily participate in these ultra-mod industries of wellness, and observe the irony of needing to be ever-reminded of one’s own innate capacity to heal. Plus, it’s nice to be in such abundant company. Thus, I am a student of yoga, every day, and I try to educate myself, reading: astrological forecasts; a slew of online news reports; spiritual wisdom journals; herbalism, meditation, yoga, wellness, and insight blogs; books. Certainly these are a curated set of horse’s mouths, and I choose them carefully, as every tidbit affects the scene and timbre of the day. Some days the ole’ guts are ready to absorb mainstream media, and some days, some things are just impossible to swallow.

The special brand of action that is born from curiosity, which leads to exploration, and then to glimmers of understanding, will well up inside of me if I wait and see what it looks like, feels like, tastes like, and breathes like. I believe that the wisdom that only comes from experience – prajna – is the good stuff. I know this, and I teach this. Yet, I forget. And at the risk of being too a cheerleader, which some days I am really into, We know this. We have gone down weirder paths before, together.

First on the 25 ways list, Epictetus, the Greek philosopher born as a slave (according to Wikipedia, where admittedly, much information first reaches the shores of my peering mind) is quoted to say, “It is impossible to learn that which one already thinks one knows.” Smart, Epictetus. How many times have I talked myself into being sure of something, only to be dashed on the rocks of mystery and chance?

When I think about it, the things I believe to be true fit it one rather small basket. And when I falter, and question the relevancy of what my teaching yoga has to do with anything at all, I recall that these spare lessons feel universal, and totally relevant right now:

Love is a resilient, unbreakable, and indelible force;

Life is fragile;

Health is a balancing act;

Yoga helps me, most of the time;

Breath is happening, but breathing is more fun;

Peace takes effort, and has got to come from inside;

Trust your gut;

All is shifting all the time, so let it, as certainty can surely kill: creativity, the mood, and will at least put a rude scratch into the perfect mirror of divine mystery. 

Love and deep respect, Suki

Ever-evolving trust and small cheese

Discomfort, bred from recognizing what would benefit to change, comes with the territory in any self-awareness practice, like yoga. To see the habits, thoughts and attachments that no longer serve the highest is the beginning of purifying the mind and body to serve the spirit. It is just this awkward state of self-reflection that has driven much of my yogic studies along. I feel liberated when I realize an old pattern has changed, and despite knowing all it takes to transform, am tickled by the occasional feeling that it that all arose out of the blue. Sometimes I forget where I began and sometimes it just takes that long…

What a yogi chooses to do with this knowingness is a key to maintenance of happiness and ease. One option is to focus the mind on releasing that which so blatantly blocks evolution. “I will no longer eat cheese”, (as it upsets my stomach). “I will stop talking negatively to my body”, (for I believe that I am well). “I will release a poverty consciousness around earning and allowing for abundance”, (I know that I am worthy). Here are examples of affirmations I have fiddled with in the past. Their repetition and practice served, in a way, to infuse my world with new concepts and perspectives, surely.

But I found myself fixated on more adversity than I had hoped for. “Cheese”, “negative talk”, and “poverty consciousness”, were words I was repeating daily and my mind was lapping it up with a big spoon. The mind can only do so much with the information it is served and will focus on what is presented with regularity, whether or not it is the heart’s desire to shift just that thing. All this time and my practice was attaching deeper roots to just what I wished to forgo. My small prayers were contradicting the natural course of their very spacious nature.

Lately, as laissez faire as it may seem, I choose to pray big and accept that now is the time to release ALL that no longer serves. Trust in the process anchors such a capacious invocation. With these words, I honor all the work that has been done to carve deep canyons of possibility into the matter of mindstuff, and bodystuff, and all humankindstuff. This new way is neither positive nor negatively charged, it simply is full reverence for the magic power of manifestation. As little habits slither off into oblivion, deeper patterns of thought and behavior are also sent down the happy path of letting go. All in the universe is metaphor, each singular thing reflecting and refracting the light of another, and we as light beings are doing the same. Why not trust that one wide current of calling is enough? Now we’re talking powerful stuff, which is prayer, if we leave the gates open.

With love and respect for the process, Suki

Unwrapping the Gifts of Self-Awareness

As a student of yoga I find great value in understanding the gifts of the practice. However, there are so many gifts to the practice that understanding them all in a short window of an hour or an hour and a half is beyond the scope of reason. As would be expounding them in a short blog post. Rather, one at a time we unfold the wrapping of these magnificent presents, on and off the mat, in pursuit of truly understanding this wealth of knowledge that has been developing for centuries.

One of the most beautiful of the gifts of the practice is the profoundly rewarding gift of self-awareness. In the context of yoga, the practice of tuning our being into a state of continuous harmony with our hearts, our motives, our relationships, and our environments, self-awareness is the necessary tool to get the job done well. When we come to the mat and our gaze turns in, toward our breath and our body, it is essentially also an act of reaching into our toolbox to grab our tuning instruments.

Thousands of channels of energy run through our bodies. From the more gross channels of veins, nerves, muscles and connective tissues to nadis, belief structures, and the states of being in our hearts, we are constantly experiencing energy in motion.   Sometimes the movement of energy through these countless channels becomes blocked, resulting in discord, discomfort, disease, and distress. The combined efforts of pranayama, asana, and contemplation, practiced in a consistent manner over an extended period of time, result in the clearing of such blockages, the healing of illness, the reduction of stress, and the harmonizing of the fragmented aspects of an unintegrated whole.

The significance of the practice and its effects on ones life are as multitudinous as the various asana poses, schools of yoga, and thoughts that run through ones head in the course of a lifetime. Over time, just as with the many aspects of the self, with return to the practice more and more will be revealed, assimilated, and transformed into something of use and value. Such gold then becomes useful on and off the mat to bring more luster into ones life, more choruses of harmony, and more sweetness of ease. This is the kind of gift that we unwrap over the course of our disciplined practice. This is the power of self-awareness that in time reveals much more than just that which first meets the eye.

“Practice and all is coming.” –Pattabhi Jois

With Love, Always, in All Ways, For Giving,

Genevieve