Our yogic process of transformation is just that, a process and not an event, and cannot be forced or rushed if we are to make sustainable change
From yung pueblo: when you want to change yourself, do not change everything at once. pick a few things to focus on first...applying them in your life until they become integrated as positive new habits, help[ing] you build a strong foundation for future transformations.
As we make our inquiries we engage an ongoing process of observing our own patterns with discernment but without judgment, allow them to release in the fire of Awareness, and take the next step forward...
From yung pueblo p. 107: the inward movement can be summarized as follows: we observe ourselves, we accept what we find without judgment, we let it go, and the actual release causes our transformation...these are moments when we intentionally reclaim our power.
Yoga is about practice. One of my teachers, Lynn Wylie, used to speak about "repetition" as re-petition (to ask again). Our practice is one of willingness not-to-know suffused with deep curiosity. On the mat and in life, we return to our patterns and habits, observing again and again, making experiments and tiny readjustments...
From yung pueblo's "inward": allow yourself to transform as many times as you need to be fully happy and free. Happy explorations!
Continuing from the previous weeks, we'll be exploring our relationship to the past - how we resist the past or hold on to, rather than being in the present with its wisdom helping us now to live with more freedom and skillfulness...
Our next reading is an excerpt from p. 50 of inward by yung pueblo (brackets and italics are mine):
healing begins with acceptance and culminates in letting go. when a great misery occurs, it remains with us for as long as we hold onto it. attachments form because of the energy we use to keep what happened, or the image of what we want to happen, locked away within our mind and body - this is the cause of tension in our being...
the miracle of healing ourselves is so powerful because in the movement of accepting and letting go, we relinquish the energy of the burden... now [the past becomes] experiences we learn from, lessons that bring us into a present of greater freedom, happiness and wisdom [and perhaps we could include courage]
We'll carry on from the last reading and the theme of learning from rather than holding onto the past. This week in your practice notice how you've learned from the past in a helpful way, and when (and where) you're holding old patterns in your body, no-longer-helpful beliefs in your mind, and habits that no longer serve in your behaviour. Perhaps as we release old energy from the past (while learning from it), we can become more skilful in the present and move forward into the future with clarity, compassion, curiosity and courage.
From yung pueblo (inward) p. 49: letting go doesn't mean forgetting; it means we stop carrying the energy of the past into the present
For the next few weeks, let's investigate our relationship to how the past lives in our bodies and how we are in the present. Yoga speaks of these residues of the past as karma (natural cause and effect outcomes of past behaviour both individually and culturally), and samskara ('grooves' worn in our neurology from habitual patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour).
From yung pueblo p. 48: i do not wish to change the past it made me who I am today i only want to learn from it and live in a new way
The second yogic ethic (yama) outlned in Patanjali's Yoga Sutra (Chapter II.30) is truthfulness - satya.
From yung pueblo's "inward" p. 75: I started speaking my truth when being free became more important than guarding the fear of my ego.
This week, use your practice explore the difference between your inclination to "protect yourself" and your intention to support yourself to allow learning and growth.
Continuing the theme of our own yoga practice connecting us in a skilful way to the rest of the world, the next reading (from yung pueblo's "inward") touches on the critical yogic ethic of ahimsa (non harming)...
From p. 83 (square brackets are mine): the more love in my body [we could add mind, heart as well] the less harm my body can do [to myself and others]
This week, look for ways that your practice not only nourishes you, but also helps you be more self aware, more self reflective and more able to be a skilful presence in your life
This Fall I'd like to explore not only what we receive from our practice, but also how it helps us become more skilful [compassionate, honest, authentic, responsible...] in our personal relationships and with our wider community in all its diversity. Our reading is excerpted from yung pueblo's beautiful text "inward": I want to live in a world where harm is not systemic, where love organizes society, where the earth is respected, and where life is valued...
This week, savour your practice, breathe it in, receive.... But also consider who else might benefit from your mindfulness, humbleness, presence.... How does our practice nourish us, and how does it help us step into our integrity and our response-ability to create a more mindful, equitable and just world?
Misha Butot RCSW, ERYT 500 is a longtime clinical social worker and senior yoga teacher living in Victoria, BC