In yoga we focus on breathing. It seems like it is a physical practice of moving the body in positions. But more than that, I think it is more of a breathing practice. This breath that we take for granted. Most of the times we forget how important it is to breathe. Because it just happens. Breath is an automatic mechanism, we breathe when we sleep, when we eat, when we do our daily mundane things. It just happens. We inhale, we exhale. We do not have to control the muscles for it. It just does it by itself. But when we are faced with uncomfortable situations, we notice that we have difficulties to breathe. We cannot breathe, we cannot think, we cannot function. For without air we die.
I was brought up in a culture that is very accepting. Accepting of fate, accepting of my position of life. My culture told me to stay in the lines, do not ruffle feathers. I was taught to submit, do not engage. Keep your head low, avoid unnecessary encounters. I cannot say this is not right. However somethings you just cannot accept like this, for then you allow it to happen too. I become part of the oppression. I cannot allow that. We are all born equal, I would like to think so. Somehow we aren't.
I have no words. I feel like I do not have the right to talk because I do not know. I just hope everyone can breath. It should be a basic right. I hope I am able to stand up for this.
How is everyone doing? I hope you are doing well.
This new moon is quite special. Our muslim brothers and sisters are celebrating the end of Ramadan. Happy Eid to all our brothers and sisters. I find it very interesting that a lot of cultures have a lot to go back to the moon cycle, from different parts of the world. The more I travel and the more I meet people I see this nuances. And it shows me that we maybe all different but there is also a lot of similarities. Same with learning languages, learning one language sometimes helps the understanding of the other. The more I study the more similarities I find. And for me this is something that remains very interesting.
The ashtanga practice usually has a rest day, Saturday for me, because in my life right now it makes more sense. A lot of questions were raised when the Saturday rest day was moved by Sharathji to Sunday rest day in Mysore. He moved it to spend more time with his family, and who are we to question. He is right to want to spend time with his family. He is busy enough with the students. And I think this was also beautiful to see that in such a rigid practice, there are ways when we can 'bend' the rules.
When I was just starting (or restarting again and again, over and over, till now I do this) I didn't want to have rest days. Because I felt like it was breaking my learning progress. And up to this day I do have weeks when I do not observe a rest day. Because personally I found that my mind is more steady when I practice. Yes yes I know, I never said I am a good student, I think I am a very bad one. I bend enough rules :). It's probably better not to discuss all of the rules that I like to bend. And besides that would be such a long list. I don't really want to bore you with it.
Anyway, whether or not I practice a rest day, I try to have a day with a less intensive practice. Also on the days when I feel my mind or my body, or both are weak, I revert to an easier practice. It helps me calm down instead of fire up. Weekends are for me also oil bath day(s). The castor oil bath usually goes with the rest day of the ashtanga practice. It is not an actual bath to the western idea of bath. It's more like an oil soak. Starting with the head and then the rest of the body in the sticky castor oil. And then I try to soak in it as long as I can. And I think (I'd like to believe) this helps me relax the body.
It has been one ride this whole 2020. And we are barely halfway. Always dig deep, you will find courage in there. Maybe it seems like it's very bleak but keep digging. I know you have it in you. There is always something left. And sometimes we really get the good stuff in the end. I'd like to believe that. Yes I am a dreamer. I am also a realist. And I know the things we feed, it grows. So keep feeding the good in you, the perseverance, the patience, the belief, the sometimes little voice that keeps you going. Always take care and I send my love. Lots of it.
You would think I would be smart to back up my mailing list. But yeah. No. So if you were getting the emails from me before. I might have lost your email. Mailchimp doesn't seem to want to work with me anymore so I will focus on the blog instead. You can sign up for my mailing list and I will now save a back up of it. Sorry for my mistake.
Don't you feel sometimes like your life is a big movie? And you cannot imagine where things are coming from? I used to think this was only me. But now when I listen to people, really listen, I just go wonder, who ever thinks of these stuff happening in real life. Sometimes we feel like other people are exaggerating about their stories but most of the time they are also editing in their head. But it's still pretty wonderful and crazy at the same time. And yet we go through this life, we have these crazy adventures and we still doubt our capabilities? Do you remember all you went through to get here? Look at how strong you are. Beautiful. That is what you are.
I would also like to use this chance to thank the people who have been continuing to support me, through donations, through your presence, through your sweet messages. These times are hard for everyone. And though I may seem as though as I am always ready to practice, the reality is far from these. I have a lot of hesitations with going to the mat. But mostly it's expectations on myself. I know I am really hard on myself and I put high expectations. I know this is also mental conditioning. But doesn't make dealing with it easier. Or maybe it does. The acknowledgement that it is there. I was in one of Peter Sanson's talk and what struck me is what he said, 'One good breath should do it.' We go through the movements of our Ashtanga practice (or maybe any other practice, running, long boarding, singing, walking, playing an instrument., climbing.. the list goes on). One good breath. It means a lot to be able to breathe through these adversities in life. So we keep breathing. One breath, then maybe another one. And before we know it the movie is almost over. Or does it really end? The questions of life are endless.
If you are interested 30 May, Sharathji is doing an online led class. I highly recommend you to try it with him. If you have any questions you can let me know. Follow the link here to sign up.
I started writing yesterday and was on a totally different topic. But since it's Mom's day, I thought I'd share something different. I was born a premature baby and from what I understand from stories, I think they didn't see much survival chance in me when I was born. Tiny and very fragile. Of course my parents would not let anything happen to me. They did everything to make sure I will be fine. Fast tract to 36 years, I have to admit, I am still tiny and fragile but very much kicking too. I owe this to my lovely mom and dad. Without them I wouldn't be who I am now. The older I get, the more I realise how much they have given me, how much sacrifice they did for me. And I know they did it with love. I can only be grateful.
They have made me strong and they taught me so much. I thought they were always tough on me. I thought I never really was good enough in their eyes and that I always had to do better. But that's probably me judging myself. Because when I see them looking at me with such loving eyes, it almost seems as if I am perfect in their eyes. And I am grateful for everything they have given me, there wouldn't be enough space for here.
I will keep it short and sweet. My love to your moms, to you moms, and to you. Happy mother's day to all the beautiful ladies. And to the father's too, thank you for supporting our moms. And to us children, may we be someday be as wise as those who are before us.
My mailchimp is acting up so the blog is the place to be this week. I stay here for you supporting your practice.
I've always been a fan of superhero movies, X-Men, Spiderman, Batman, Wonderwoman... you name it. These quarantine season I've always had the quote from The Hulk in the Avengers movie.
Dr. Banner! Now might be a good time to get angry.
That's my secret, Captain. I'm always angry. [Morphs into the Hulk and punches the Leviathan]
I find this highly relatable, I'm always sore. Not in a bad way. Let's say I have made friends with it. It's quite hard to explain. But maybe I do like putting myself in situations that are not exactly comfortable. And in doing that, each time I do I create a bit more awareness. What am I doing in that situation? Most of the time I try to avoid the pain, the awkward moments. But when I catch myself doing that, I try to do two steps back and find the pattern and think, what can I do better at this movement. Then I think maybe I can do this instead. And it is hard to do different when we know something is already working and working well. The comfortable, the normal. But sometimes we are pushed into situations to do different.
I've always been troublesome. When someone tells me it's not possible, something in me lights up and tells me, yeah you can do that. I am not sure if it is a devil or an angel, maybe it's both.
So yes. Failure is an option. Most of the time it is the result of the action. Most of the time we see things when it's already working. We don't see the gruelling process. We see the final product and not the drafts before. I think the secret is be ok with sucking at it. Being ok with failing. Be ready to be able to dust yourself, laugh at yourself and pick yourself back up and try again. It's the wanting to do the work. It's messy. It's confronting. It is difficult but it is also very satisfying and just fun.
People want results. They want it fast. We are living in where everything is served on a silver platter. And yes. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people did the work for this to be possible. And it was not an easy work as we somehow dismiss. We also do not have to reinvent the wheel. But we also cannot take for granted that somethings it really calls for hard work and surrender and trust.
Understood? Me too, I don't really understand. Hahahaha. Anyway. Moving on. Just a bit of changes in the schedule for next week. For Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, if you want to come to class let me know in advance. I am happy to be there but for now there is not a need for them so I will make those classes on demand. Thank you for understanding. Any other questions. Please let me know. I like hearing from you guys.
Stay safe. Stay happy. Stay angry. Stay sore.