Yogini-blogger, Donna Suguna Marguglio (Emotional Healing Through Yoga) commented on an earlier barefootandupsidedown asteya post that “Teaching and practicing yoga has lifted the burden of wanting “stuff”.”
Why is that?
Simply because yoga is an inner-directed journey. California-based yogini-writer, Judith Lasater on the Yoga Therapy Web teleconference The Art of Forward Bending, reminds us that the eight limbs of of yoga, beginning with the yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, and moving deeper into pratyhara, dhyana, dharana, and finally, samadhi, all take us deeper and deeper on this inward journey.
And guess what? This inward journey doesn’t require a lot of stuff!
All I need is to be present. Easier said than done, eh? I mean, really, between work, my grown kids, and my elderly parent, I have all I can do to eat three meals a day much less Be Present for my life. How can I possibly be HERE while I bounce from taking my Dad to the doctor, advising my kid on whether he should move or not, and writing up a proposal for a really cool new energy saving device my company – and the world – will profit from? Most of the day I feel as if I’m running on automatic. And now I’ve got to buy gifts, write holiday cards, prepare a special meal for the family, and decorate a tree. There’s no time or energy to be present.
Yoga happens once we let go. Let go of taking care of everyone’s else’s needs. Even let go of taking care of our own peripheral needs. Our deep longing is to connect with our core self. We need to listen to an often quiet inner voice that is only heard once we relax the walls built up during our daily “run.”
I have to let go of the grip my life and the grip everyone else’s life has on me in order to get to my mat in the first place. I make a conscious decision, knowing that this is the way to a more richer, deeper, more compassionate, and fulfilling life.
This is the way to take better care of myself. Of my family. My work. My neighbors. My pets. Garden. House. You name it. I will let go and I will practice.
Getting to my mat and my cushion is one way to practice. However, there are times when I am needed to be present for, say my father-in-law’s needs regarding his assisted living facility. Should I head to the mat for a much needed headstand practice and tell him “Later, ‘gator” OR should I turn being with him, LISTENING deeply and BEING PRESENT to him, into a yogic practice, say a compassionate practice of the third yogic YAMA: asteya, or generosity?
If I did that, I’d be practicing non-grasping or asteya toward my own yoga practice.
What’s so beautiful about this is that only you can really judge how important your “mat” practice is at that moment. Only you can decide if you would like to exercise your heart opening into generous listening and being present through yoga asana, meditation, or gifting your self to another person. It’s all one practice. It’s your life.
Whether or not you practice any of the other yogic limbs this holiday season, please join me in the practice of asteya. Grow awareness of how you can and do GIVE of yourself as well as to yourself over the next couple of weeks. Your heart will blossom and your generosity will grow deeper and deeper.If it suits you, reinforce your practice with a running log in your journal of a couple of ways you practiced asteya off your mat each day.
There is no limit to love! Being present is the greatest gift. Asteya is both an expression of love and a way to open ourselves into love. Hmmmm, how can I wrap that and put it under the tree?
I would love to give away some of my over-stocked yoga library, so please share your experiences in the comments.The best ideas for practicing asteya this season will receive a free yoga book.