Bliss & Wellness!!!

This body holds two selves.  
(I think it was Hafiz that said that one!!!)
My dear friend Elana, over at Lunar Musings, is back to hosting Wellness Wednesday on her blog…this is a great opportunity to dedicate at least one day reflecting on your health and wellness.  But, I find myself being more observant of my choices through out the week, knowing that I will need to report a little somethin-somethin come Wednesday…or for me, a humble desert dweller, it’s more like Thursday!!  Along with Wellness Wednesday, Christine–our honorable Bloggy Land Bliss Chick is also hosting a blog community called Encouraging Bliss.  Both these challenges/communities give me much to think about through out the week.  So, here, today on Dirty Footprints it is my post on Bliss & Wellness!!!!  
What’s your take on Yoga in America?
“Yoga in America is way too asana oriented.  Ninety percent of Yoga asana is a waste of time.  the asana must be done to prepare the body to hold the light of the soul.  Most people just want all of the stuff the ego likes:  a firm body and ways to impress people.  We should be striving to find a real connection with the Divine.”

–from an interview with Aadil Palkhivala 
in the May 2009 issue of Yoga Journal (page 140)

If you’ve been reading Dirty Footprints for awhile you know that last summer I had an accident happen in my Power Yoga class that resulted in a torn hamstring, and having to start my entire practice from the ground up again.  It was a humbling and enlightening experience, to say the least.  I learned how every thing in my body relies on each other.  I learned to be fully grateful for the little things, like being able to get my arms past my waist in a forward bend, where before I was able to bend straight legs forward with my palms laying flat on the ground resting underneath the soles of my feet.  

Who cares!! Right?  In the big scheme of things…does it really matter that I can put my palms underneath the soles of my feet?  Does it matter if one can stand on their head, balance on one leg, hold long twisted poses called Warrior, Tree, and Crescent Moon?  No, in the big scheme of things…it doesn’t.  Aadil Palkhivala said it best above when he answered that the asanas (Yoga pose/posture) are meant to be done to prepare the body to hold the light of the soul.  All that other stuff—like flexibility, strength, relaxation, peace of mind, a Yogini’s great butt–are all fluffy white icing on the cake!  But what Yoga is really chipping away at is the soul that resides inside this beautiful house called a body.  

Yes, I said beautiful.  And, I didn’t say it right away!  I sat and reread that paragraph a few times, then slipped it in.  How can my body be beautiful when my belly sits above my belt strap when I wear my “skinny jeans”?  How can my body be beautiful when tiny gray hairs are throwing a party on my temple–and are being a huge influence over my eyebrows too?  How can my body be beautiful if my breasts are so large that sometimes I take my bra off and just cradle them to shelter them from the heckles of gravity?  How can my body be beautiful if my thighs are long lost Siamese twins reunited since I turned 30?  

Yoga is the one thing that I am good at…and the one thing I struggle with constantly also.  Every day that I step on that mat is a new lesson into this house I live in called my body.  On some days, I can hold Warrior pose like I was born to stand like this for a profession!! On other days, I find my mind screaming profanities at my hamstrings for the tantrum they are throwing as I try to find peace in the here and now.  That’s it, you see.  Yoga teaches us that our bodies are not stagnant.  They actually have a brain, and let me say–mind of its own.  (Other then our actual brain that lives upstairs in the penthouse suite!)  Our bodies can serve our egos well on some days by making us look like Yoga superstars, and on other days make us literally go to our knees in the sweet, bliss of child’s pose.  

Yoga teaches me, that before I can ever even utter the word “enlightenment” I need to make friends with this beautiful body.  And, like a good friend–I need to love unconditionally.  Once we call a truce with those gray hairs, rubbing thunder thighs, and sweet jelly bulges–we can then relax into the real business of this life journey—knowing and diving deeper into our soul. 
Until then…all our pursuits to know that self inside us–the one that is more then the body it lives in–the one that is connected to the sky, the mountains, the floor underneath my Yoga mat—the one that does not breathe in and out–but rather is the breath of life itself–until then, we are just searching for light with a blindfold on.

How have I been swooning this body of mine?  I start with
 gratitude.  I am grateful to be strong…strong enough to hold my Yoga poses, strong enough to make it through a whole day of work.  I am grateful that I am well.  I wake up and feel healthy.  

Second, I have been trying to treat my body with kindness again.  The past few months, when things started getting stressful and crazy–I took it out on my diet, took my stress out on my Yoga practice, took it out by neglecting the up-keep and nurturing of my body.  I’m making an effort again to feed my body the nutrients it needs…to practice habits that honor its cycles and temperaments.

Lucky for me, my body is very forgiving.  It forgets easy…and is always willing to kiss and make up!  

Peace & Love.

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