Free Video Of The Week
This week’s Free Video of the Week features our Sun Salutations A and B (Surya Namaskar A and B) practice. This purifying sequence is a prayer in motion that helps build heat and flexibility in the body, kickstart your energy, and focus your mind. What a perfect way to clean house on the mat!
On to the blog…
Maybe it's the gardener in me. For some reason fall, nay autumn (I've always loved that word), feels like a natural time to clear out the old and make preparations for the new. Often, spring is thought of as the time for cleaning out that which has become stale, musty, and old. Yet, to me, autumn is equally as worthy of a good clearing out. Gardeners are well aware of nature's cycle, even in a seemingly consistent climate such as ours. There are subtle, yet definitive, seasons (even here) in which certain things thrive and others die back. This is critical to the inherent diversity and balance of natural life. Autumn is the time for reaping the harvests of all our hard work from summer, preparing to rest and restore through the winter before life can begin flourishing anew in the spring.
Of course, I'm not just talking plants here. The more we pay attention to our own subtle energetic shifts, the more we start take notice of times when it just feels right to clean house, whether that applies literally to the house, or more metaphorically to our lives, activities, relationships, habits, or whatever aspect of being human beings that might no longer serve our best interests. Frankly, some things are easier to clean than others: that stack of papers that's been sitting around for weeks, or that high-dusting you never get around to, or that gecko poop on the window sill that you keep noticing in passing but haven't cleaned for some time now (Hawai’i problems!). Things like this are just like spring or autumn cleaning; we've just got to set aside some time specifically for cleaning and get to it. Then there are those things that are a whole other beast to remove from our existence: that job that simply defeats us, that relationship that's stale or even toxic, that habit of consuming something that we know is bad for us, etc. How the heck are we supposed to clear out that sort of old, thorny brush without slicing ourselves to bits in the process?
Well, you've come to the right place because I happen to have all the answers right here... Wait. They were right here. Oh, maybe they're in this pile of papers - just let me look through them quickly. No, not here. Oh, maybe I put them in that bag in the corner. No. Or maybe they're inside that bag that I put in that other bag. Nope, not here either. Well, I guess I have some cleaning of my own house to do…
Until then, we can actually get some help from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras! Wise one that he was, Patanjali reminds us that inevitably there are obstacles on our path: ranging from illness, negligence, misperception, dullness, and laziness to failure, doubt, cravings, and instability.
(For discussion of this sutra, click here: Yoga Sutra 1.30)
Fortunately, we have some help identifying the obstacles that are present on our path, the things that need to be cleared out, by noticing their consequences in our lives: mental or physical pain, unsteadiness in the body, sadness and frustration, and even irregular breath.
(For discussion of this sutra, click here: Yoga Sutra 1.31)
According to the sutras, to clean our houses of these things, we must train our minds to become and remain focused, one-pointed, and clear.
(For discussion of this sutra, click here: Yoga Sutra 1.32)
This practice of cultivating a focused mind does not just imply that we must sit in unending meditation in the woods somewhere (though that sounds nice at times). Rather, it implies a whole lifestyle practice, a MOJO Life if you will, wherein everything we think, say, and do gently persists in bringing us closer to our goals, whatever they may be. Easy enough, right?
So perhaps this week, as the days continue to shorten and a chill creeps into the air, we can all agree to clean house. Maybe it'll only be one small thing, like getting rid of that blasted gecko poop (or whatever poop you have lying around your house). Maybe you’ll take a deep breath (or ten) and tackle that big whopper, that something that's been weighing on your mind and spirit for a while that just needs to go right now. Helpful hint: those who are working up the courage for the whoppers might want to start with a small thing to get the proverbial ball rolling! Whatever it might be, make sure that your house, literal or metaphorical, is a bit cleaner and fresher this week. I bet we'll all be able to breathe a little easier.