I have a student who is hearing impaired. She comes to my class weekly. She's such an inspiration. I often theme my classes, and she doesn't get to hear the great wisdom I get to share. So this entry, and subsequent entries focused on class themes, is dedicated to her, so she can know what yoga is really about ~ it's not just about the postures ~ but the heart of yoga lies in it's wisdom. In this way, we can truly make yoga accessible off the mat. Yoga teachers use many resources, and one of my recent inspirations is the book, My Body is a Temple, by Christina Sell. Christina has this way of making the teachings accessible and practical.
Awhile back, I went on a weekend yoga retreat. We were told that we could bring a bottle of wine to share. Knowing I am a "cheap" date, since I never indulge, I decided a little vino to help me unwind was just what the Dr. ordered. And so I had a couple of glasses of wine the two nights of the retreat. We laughed, we hooped, we yoga flowed with the hoop, we laughed some more. It was really a great time, and I didn't regret a moment of it. Needless to say, the next day, I was not as strong as I could have been.
Christina talks a lot about the teachings of one of her teachers, Lee Lozowick. He talked about "Enthusiastic Discipline". Looking at the etymology of the words, with "enthusiastic" ~ "En" the prefix means "in" and "thus" the root means "theos" or "god". With "Discipline" it shares the same root as "Disciple" which means "to learn" "to comprehend" or "to hold apart". She says, "Enthusiastic Discipline" means "Holding God Within". She further says, "No matter how inspiring the vision or how much we want to align with our highest, our sincere longing and inspirations must be brought to life through enthusiastic discipline efforts. Enthusiastic Discipline originates deep in the inner being of the practitioner. For instance, we are not holding ourselves apart from things we enjoy by some imposed restriction, but rather abstaining from those things that are against our highest aims and practicing those things that strengthens us, out of the recognition of what serves our deepest truths." Furthermore, she says, "Enthusiastic Discipline is the willingness to say yes and no, to give up those things - behavioral or attitudinal - that compromise our efforts so that we can be able to hold God within."
Wanting to feel and look my best is a form of self-love. It's a the kind self-love that doesn't require much more than an awareness of what works and what does not work for me personally. Will I indulge in a glass of wine on my next retreat? It's not something I can predict. After all, should my "Enthusiastic Discipline" become so rigid as to cause anxiety and guilt for partaking in such action, then "Enthusiastic Discipline" is just another dogma. Living as a tantric yogi, "Enthusiastic Discipline" offers the lesson that I am free to do what I want in any moment, but begs the question, does it serve my highest aims or my higher calling?
When we have the desire and wisdom, our "Enthusiastic Discipline" can help guide our actions and we have a choice to live more skillfully.
Theme: Enthusiastic Discipline
UPAs: Muscular Energy (embracing what works for us personally)
Apex: Surya Yantrasana