Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yoga Chitti Vritti Nirodha

The more I do yoga, the more I crave doing yoga. It's a wonderful cycle, really. The more yoga I do, the better I sleep, the better I feel, the better mom/partner/person I find myself being...striving to be.

I came to yoga not to become a better person but to fix my aching body. What has happened is a miraculous inward folding and outward blossoming to which I can only attribute to a clearing of the energy channels ("nadi" in sanskrit) that opened the pathways to healther ways of thinking...or least is creating the opportunity to create healthier ways of thinking.

A friend reminded me the other day that one of the great yogic philosopher's said that people come to yoga for a myriad of reasons...but one way or another, everyone ends up creating the union that yoga intends to provide - the coordination, coexistence, cooperation of the breath, the mind and body. And from that union, we are able to "clear the mind of clutter." The second yoga sutra (the title of this post) says just this: "Yoga is the clearing of distractions of the mind." Of course it's not easy. If it were, it wouldn't take lifetimes for gurus to achieve their bliss. The poses (900+ variations and more) are the way to work out the kinks in our mind.

Not that is not to say you just break into a few down dogs and suddenly your OCD tendencies disappear (h boy if only). But what it does is create an awareness of what drives you into spirals, so that you can slowly slowly slowly peel, push, twist, massage and breathe away those triggers. Even if ONLY when you are on the mat. And perhaps moment by moment, it will spread into your life beyond the mat. For real yoga is the way which we conduct our lives OFF the mat.

I have a few personal struggles that test my patience daily. Lately I am acutely aware of them to the point of distraction, and it's frustrating. But I have to remind myself that being AWARE of them is part of the process, as before they were just things I did/thought/reacted to. I'm moving backwards to identify their root causes, and each time I practice I notice they bother me, at least on the mat, less and less. With repetition, with patience, with understanding, perhaps I can carry that peace into those moments between the asanas.

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