Week 2: Plan your practice, Practice Your Plan – acceptance and binding

Acceptance of what happens is certainly a worthwhile chew for our times. The pandemic and our fight for freedom, justice and equality can stir discontent. At least it keeps our focus on what's wrong and the need to fix. It can feel like acceptance means we are OK with the state of the world. It doesn't.

It’s been stimulating and enlightening to see this idea grow! What started as randomly turning the camera on during the early “stay-at-home” times here in Michigan, seems to be developing into a program for developing a home yoga practice! Thank you all for sticking with it and joining and sharing your experiences on your mat and off.

This week we are continuing to build on the scaffolding of:

  • The plan: what are you practicing? Physical objective (to heal something or strengthen something)? Psychological/emotional objective? Spiritual/Moral/Ethical objective? Within that objective add in one or two poses and/or breath practices to be a part of that plan. Maybe write down your intentions/affirmations.
  • Time: How much will you commit to your practice over what duration of time? You get to be the determiner of this. No time shaming!
  • Observe: Do the thing! And notice your thoughts, your behaviors (resistances, avoidances, eagerness), memories, changes/growing. This is where having a journal is helpful. Plan to review your journal maybe once a week, or once a month, but it’s a part of your study as well (svadyaya – self study)
  • Guidance: Who is your guide through this process? A human teacher is best (but I’m not opposed to tree or animal teachers either!). But perhaps there’s a text/scripture you want to use as a guide for this practice. A book or podcast or audio of some sort. When are you referring to them to review what you’re doing and learning new ways and benefitting from their insight and wisdom.

OK, this week, we are adding on!

Theme: Acceptance/Contentment (santosha)

“It is through acceptance of difficulty that we gain mastery.” ~ Rolf Gates

“Santosha – the feeling of being content with what we have. … The real meaning – to accept what happens.” TKV Desikachar

Acceptance of what happens is certainly a worthwhile chew for our times. The pandemic and our fight for freedom, justice and equality can stir discontent. At least it keeps our focus on what’s wrong and the need to fix. It can feel like acceptance means we are OK with the state of the world. It doesn’t. It allows for the space of discontent to exist and some equanimity as well. It can help us create a barrier between the discontent and our true nature, rather than internalizing it. Evil or bad things exist. Just as falling out of a pose exists and pain exists in tight muscles when they are stretching. Fighting against what is only creates more tension. Acceptance lets us explore seeing each minute in a balanced way: the pandemic exists AND the sunrise was beautiful this morning; the injustice and oppression exists AND people are finding ways to show love and work together.

Posture elements: Binding (clasping/joining). Poses that involve arms, hands, legs bound together. This can be simple postures or complex.

Binds help us confront/observe how we navigate feeling stuck and how being bound can bring freedom. I’ve been a tai chi player for 20 years. Doing the same movements in a form in the same order, day after day, year after year. Some would say it’s monotonous or boring. But there’s so much freedom to explore within boundaries. There’s a liberation of expression and being that can be found within limitations (even if it’s observing resistance to the boundaries).

Bound poses can help us see our fears, our patterns and our limitations to setting ourselves free.

Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha mokshayoho – If you feel bound or stuck, you are bound to be stuck. If you feel free, you are already free (Belinda’s translation).

Thus it’s great to partner with Acceptance!

We hope you are enjoying progressing through this series of classes to develop your own personal yoga practice.

We are noticing several of you returning and sharing what you’re exploring like “balance” or “consistency” or “mind-body connection.” That’s amazing. Please keep sending us feedback. And if you want me to be your guide through this, send in your yoga plan to (belinda@justbyoga.com) and I’ll send you some feedback!

Also if you have something in particular you want to practice or have questions about, please send them in on the comments or comment live or email me 🙂

Peace and love. See you on the mat.

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