Kimi Marin Yoga

Honor limitations. Transcend Boundaries.

Archive for the tag “abhyasa”

The Blame Game

In my last post I touched upon the concepts of steady effort, abhyasa, and letting go, vairagya, and how yoga is the practice of finding a balance between these two concepts. The second sutra defines yoga as the ability to focus the mind towards an object without distraction. The object is our intention, our dharma (path), our true nature and distractions are all the sensations, dramas and joys of our life. One of these distractions is the act of ‘blame’.

How many times have you blamed someone else for your mistakes? How many times have you used the blame game as an excuse: The other driver was slow? If I was younger…? If I was older…? If my boss wasn’t such a jerk?  When we blame, we lose authority over our own mind, we give over are confidence, compassion, and power. We become the victim. When we blame we lose confidence that we are intrinsically full of goodness and replace it with an outward projection of jealousy, anger, and insecurity. By blaming we attach our irritation and negativity to an outside source and as like attracts like, negativity breeds negativity.

When we blame others for our own suffering, inconveniences, or emotions, we are “creating narrow perimeters into which everything must fit” (Mipham, 95). We are making our world and ourselves smaller. Instead of redirecting the blame to ourselves, we can use these strong emotions to become self-aware. In a situation where blame may arise, with self-awareness, we can begin to notice what we attach blame to, how our mind immediately starts to criticize, and begin to notice how we participate in our circumstances.

With self-awareness, you see the choices and options available to you, you become your own ruler.  You are “breaking free” from limited boundaries and the “preconception of how things ought to be” (97). With self-awareness, as feelings of discomfort first begin to arise consider it direct communication with your highest Self (Kempton, pars. 1).  Before you begin to blame or find fault see if you can recognize the feelings that are arising and dig to the root of the situation. Use this as  a time of self-empowerment and a reconnection to your authentic, powerful, compassionate Self.

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Kempton, Sally. “Judgment Calls.” Yoga Journal., n.d.  Cruz Bay Publishing. Web.

Mipham, Sakyong. Ruling Your World. New York: Doubleday, 2005. Print.

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Softening the Hard Edges

“Practice leads you in the right direction, while non-attachment allows you to continue the inner journey without getting sidetracked into the pains and pleasures along the way” – Swami J

Nohoch Mol, Mexico 2007

Nohoch Mol, Mexico 2007. Afraid of heights, this  climb brought many mental “distractions” to the surface.

In my practice, I am working to soften – to let go of the push of trying so hard. I began this in my asana practice and have found, like most things that start on the mat, to be leaking into different aspects of my life. Maybe you, too, have noticed that what you practice on the mat begins to infiltrate into different aspects of your life. To yield into the poses is to let go of the need to have to do them correctly, or have to be perfect. To yield and soften into the poses, is to trust that I am alright as I am. For each of us, to surrender to the moment and to place trust in the universe can be frightening and difficult.

The word yoga has several different interpretations: to unite, to yoke, to tie the strands of the mind together. In the second sutra, yoga is defined as “the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that duration without any distraction” (Heart of Yoga, 149). The object is our intention, our sankalpa, our desire or goal. The distractions are life: our sorrows, our joys, whether someone likes us, whether we get positive or negative feedback from a friend, co-worker, boss, or stanger. The distractions are life experiences that we often, mistakenly, wrap our feelings of self-worth around. We are happy when someone likes us and want to hide from the world when someone doesn’t.

Yoga is a way to be completely engaged in the action of your present moment knowing that life experiences are only experiences and not a reflection of your self-value. Yoga teaches us to move steadily in the direction we want to go but without the attachment to our desire or expected outcome. This is the balance between steady effort, abhyasa, and letting go, vairagya.

I am a strong believer in persistent, patience, and consistency. To reach our dreams and goals is not an all or nothing experience but a steady climb that we achieve over time. As we pay attention to our actions, as with move with steady effort, abhyasa, we see our path, where we are going and how to get to our desired end. When we see where we are going, when we take the time to notice the present moment no longer are we caught up with the pains, the joys, the sorrows of each of our experience. We can see embrace our experience as the changing opportunity for growth without attaching our worth to the outcome. This allows us to move without gripping, with detachment, with vairagya – this allows us to soften.

Nohoch Mol at the top — steady effort and letting go

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