Today in one of my yoga books I read “Consistency is the highest form of discipline.” Discipline then is not to be confused with a ruler slap on the wrist by Sr. Assumpta or being yelled at and grounded for a messy room. These are simultaneously old and childish apparitions of my once held notion of discipline.
Recently, I read Swami Muktananda’s Meditate.Since then I have been sitting in meditation every morning at 5:30 a.m. for 20 minutes. This new consistent practice happens before my glorious morning coffee–shockingly now in 2nd place as my favorite daily ritual.
There are some lines in Muktananda’s book that are simple and profound and keep me consistently sitting every morning before doing anything else.
“When the Self is within, why should we look for knowledge of it somewhere else?”
“We meditate to unfold our inner being.”
“Within every human being lies a great divine energy.”
The book is a short easy read and chock full of simple brilliance. The biggest gift that it has given me is access to consistency of meditation.
This new found daily discipline is shifting and changing everything subtly from the inside out. After sitting in the morning I feel opened, refreshed, and ready to fill myself up with the day ahead. Overall, my attention and focus are sharpening. I am becoming comfortably conscious of my domain and my role in it. I like who and where I am in the world. This is the path of absolute freedom through discipline.
I am reading Iyengar: The Yoga Master,a book of essays compiled by his student and devotee, Kofi Busia. It’s a fantastic tribute to the living legend. One of the essays reminded me that Mr. Iyengar who is in his upper 80’s still practices dropping back from standing into back bends. He does this practice on Fridays. Just recently I have been dropping into back bends unassisted. It is incredible to me that I can do this. The moment that I actually let myself go and drop back is totally freakin’ frightening. Until today I had not been able to stand on a hard surface (or thin yoga mat on a wood floor) to do it. I only had the guts to do it on a softer cushioned mat surface. Today after dropping back two times in a row successfully, I decided to do it on the wood floor. And wouldn’t you know it, I landed smack on my head. Not a hard or dangerous or painful deal. I broke the fall with my hands, but they are supposed to hit the floor before my head–not the other way around. So when this happened it scared me for a few seconds, but I knew in that moment that I had to do it again. You know..the whole fall off a horse lesson. So I did it, and glory be…it was the lightest most beautiful drop-back I have done to date. I didn’t do the back bend, I was urdhva dhanurasana–what a cool thing to be!
For a very long time I thought dropping back was something I would never do. It was too scary. It was only for the pros. It was too beautiful. Somehow I didn’t feel worthy or something. Then one day I gave myself permission to think ‘maybe’ which evolved into “I WILL drop back’. Five years later dropping into a back bend is a part of my regular asana practice. This is the fruit of patience and practice. I am relishing in gratitude and joy today.
Although I have committed to solely practicing and studying Anusara yoga, I continue to hold Mr. Iyengar and his icca, jnana, and kriya in the highest regard. I will pay him tribute on Fridays as I join him in a spirited practice of glorious heart-opening back bends.
My iPod consistently and dependably serves me yoga teachings. Because Point Clear currently is lacking public yoga classes I do have a dedicated home practice. But sometimes it’s too much of a challenge to conjure up the inner guru for a full juicy home classs. On my iPod (affectionately named YogiPod) one of the genres is ‘Yoga Classes.’ I can always get my fix of star teachers and their live ‘unplugged’ classes. It’s pretty cool. Mind you, this is no substitue for the ‘real thing,’ but I am grateful for my ‘imaginary friends Kula.’ In the last year since focusing primarily on Anusara yoga, I benefit greatly from a yoga class pod cast produced by Hillary Rubin who ROCKS. It’s almost as good as being on North Fairfax in West Hollywood. BIG gratitude for the work she is doing.
Today I am on the road–New Orleans for a night of Jazz Festing. And tomorrow to my husband’s 20th high school reunion in New England.
The YogiPod will certainly provide a sanctuary in the present day total mayhem that airports have become. And I will continue my search for a guru in the not so obvious places.