Nirodha=cessation, Vritti=fluctuations, Chita=mind, Yoga= union or oneness. Yoga is the cessation of the mind’s fluctuations, in that cessation we can abide in our true unbiased nature, which is JOY. While I would love to say I’ve mastered this, I’m still a work in progress. When someone comments, “you seem really Zen and centered” or “you’re the most calm, level headed person I know”, my gut level reaction is, “are you kidding me?” The fact is yoga is a practice for beginners and not masters of ego, achievement, or competition. I find that a non-attached, egoless mindset is probably the hardest thing to grasp. Hence, I am a beginner and will always be one.
When I first started practicing almost 15 years ago, I was a very different person. I worked 70 hours a week in a job I didn’t like. Most of my fuel came from caffeine and nicotine. I couldn’t stand up straight, or let alone imagine touching my toes. In retrospect, I believe judgement, anxiety and anger were all part of chronic mind-set. Also, I was definitely allergic to kirtan and had a preference for house music or punk rock. I laugh when I think about how different I was then, but I also recognize how much of the original “blue-print” is still the same.
I found in yoga a new sense of home. Initially the practices didn’t jive with my worldview, yet I found something deep within me beginning to awaken. Perhaps a new awareness, an old voice that had just been silent, a new sense of acceptance, maybe even a new direction. Over time I found that my priorities shifted and old destructive habits started to change. The way I thought about the world (both external and internal) started to fundamentally shift.
Fast-forward many years; I’m still a beginner. As Patanjali wrote certain patterns of thinking have ceased as I can connect to a greater core sense of who I am. My mental fluctuations continue to ripple and wave. However, my attachment to them is not as rigid. My self-criticism has faded into friendlier compassion. Gone are many of the bad habits. And yes, I probably still work 70 hours a week, but now in service work that I love and that brings me replenishment.
My favorite teacher of mindfulness writes that awakening is about softening where we are and observing and accepting all of the details of our lives. This state, which is accessible to all, is not grandiose or transcendent, it’s actually pretty ordinary. So when I remind myself of this, my practice becomes less aggressive, I soften, I become more compassionate, and I laugh to myself about the obstacles that continue to present themselves on the journey. Hence with a beginner’s mind and an open heart I humbly begin the practice of yoga…
Upcoming Events with Kevin at Tranquil Space…
Book a Deep Tissue or Swedish massage with Kevin at the TS Spa!
Level 1 Teacher Training (in September & November)
Level 2 Teacher Training (starts in October)
September 11th 3:30pm- 2nd Sunday Charity Class for AIDS Walk DC
September, 18th 12-2pm- Yoga for Anxiety
October 7th 6:30-9pm Newbie Yoga Workshop