“take the practice seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously”…
So, it’s been a few weeks since the Ashtanga Confluence and some of you have been wanting to know… pretty much wondering if it was as awesome as we thought it would be…
M O S T definitely.
I have to be honest and tell you the whole story and a little bit more of my impressions.. But that will take several post and most important, several days more for me to process. Some things you have to only experience in the moment to take in fully.
In the meantime I can tell you many of my reflections after the Confluence have been around the phrase: “take the practice seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously”. The texts says it, the teachers says it… but it was over the past few years of actually SHARING the practice that I have been able to appreciate more deeply one of the best lessons life keeps teaching me over and over again, starting with my parents encouraging me to take my own decisions and stand HAPPY by them since I can remember… like allowing me to cut my own hair since I was 6 -have the pictures to prove it, or take as completely normal my princess outfit for going to school any random Tuesday…-unfortunately also have the pictures to prove it. But it was with the same spirit that they encouraged me to be myself and face the world just like that.
The thing is, nowadays it seems harder and harder to remember: it is our RESPONSIBILITY to find JOY in life. For the very simple reason that in joy, you experience life, you are feeling and not thinking. Joy allows you to open your eyes, to wake up, and still find magic in every moment of your life. Think about a two year old laughing uncontrollably about everything around him. Except a few decades later the same two year old has to pay rent, to wear a tie in the office, so many roles to follow, so many standards to live up to, can’t afford the risk of not living up to other’s standards. And now all this responsibilities, expectation, fears and protocols take so much space, there is no room for simple j o y .
Life is not about being happy every day, we all know that. But taking ourselves lightly allow us to keep ourselves light. The big important things in life are there, happening everyday and I bet you, in your list of important things, you are counting a lot of extremely unimportant stuff and most likely leaving out some big ones. Shake it out!
Teaching yoga has made me think about this many, many times. I have been so fortunate to be able to make a living through yoga and natural medicine the last few years and there has been numerous moments when I have worried about money, image, reputation, quality, expectations, and the list continues. Not only about myself but all of these applied also for the yoga studio that has acquired a life of it’s own; but then there are this moments, such magical moments! when in the middle of the class I look around and see all this ashtangis with their legs wide open in the air, sweating, breathing, rolling from side to side… and I can’t help but finding it ridiculously funny. Ashtanga is powerful, everyone in the room knows that. You have to take it seriously. You HAVE to do it! do it everyday -or at least few times a week, do it when you feel happy and specially when you feel not so happy. You have to be on time for class, have to figure out what to do with your hair (don’t you love that? how ‘important’ your hairstyle becomes during your practice?), when to eat your meals, which clothes to wear… and all of this is just for your practice, now if you worry about others opinion oh boy! you might have to figure out your hair again at the very least!
Well, the practice is very much like life. We have to figure out so much. All of the sudden there are all this things, issues, stuff that has become important. You have become important. And of course you are. But none of all this has to be a serious matter. We can still take a moment, look around and realize how ridiculously funny all is. How funny WE are… and stop taking it so seriously. Taking US so seriously.
I always feel amazed when I manage to stop worrying (many days I need a lot of vinyasas to achieve this ) and can actually enJOY what I do. When I manage to focus enough my mind to stop interfering with the rest of me, with this moment and I can just be. Doesn’t matters what I am actually doing; can be teaching a class, doing my practice, washing dishes or kissing my boyfriend, as long as I am present in this moment and enjoying it, magic happens. Nothing is more important at this moment, than THIS moment. If I am enjoying teaching for example, then the class is good, students are happy, they go deeper in their practice, money flows, people talk about it positively, etc. The same applies for everything else…
In the end, ‘importance’ is a matter of the mind. Our head needs to organize, prioritize, classify. That’s it. Let’s practice then. Let’s bring our legs wide open in the air and laugh about it. Have fun. Let’s stop taking ourselves too seriously.