Ciao and Sacred Sunday to you:
I hope this finds you well and receiving the generous gifts that the summer season provides.
Recently I’ve reconnected with a former yoga student. When I think back on the many years of teaching, and the number of students I’ve had the honor of sharing yoga with, my heart nearly bursts.
My student reached out to me to inquire about mentoring and coaching her as she steps into a new leadership role. While chatting and discussing the possibilities for her, memories washed over me like a soft gentle rain.
❣️Reminding me how blessed I am; for the multitude of hearts that trusted me over the years to guide and lead and be real with. For my teachers and the knowledge and wisdom they shared. As well as the long lineage of yoga itself.
For many people, still today, when they hear the word yoga, they think of it as exercise poses done on a mat, to sweat, lose weight or gain a great butt.
However, yoga encompasses much more than moving your body into interesting and challenging shapes while wearing expensive yoga clothes.
From a historical perspective, yoga began as a way in which ancient people attempted to understand the world. Just like today, the first yogis contemplated questions you and I continue to ponder…
❓how was the cosmos born
❓is there a Divine intelligence
❓how do I fit in to the grand scheme of things, or
❓who am I, why am I here, and what’s the point of it all, and
❓what am I to do with this life of mine
Perhaps they didn’t ask in those exact words, but ancient yogis were indeed seekers. As is evident through the writings and drawings of ancient and sacred texts that have been discovered and translated.
One way people of old sought answers to these existential questions was through meditation. No surprise.
They held firm to the belief that if they sat in stillness long enough, the light of awareness would illuminate that which confused and caused them suffering.
🧘🏻These first yogis intuitively knew that the mind itself was the root of their suffering. And that asana, or the seat of meditation, would help them make sense of the world they inhabited, their place in it and find freedom from the bondage of the mind.
We’re not so different from these great beings of old.
In one way or another, most people seek to understand how to put an end to their unhappiness, unease, pain, and restlessness. Though often through numbing themselves with addictive behaviors and spiritual by-passing.
And yet, even though science has proven that meditation can ease suffering and bring joy, resistance to the practice remains strong.
🗣The truth is many people find it challenging to sit in the sanctuary of the self. Over the 30 years of teaching yoga and meditation, and over 10 years of empowerment coaching, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard, “I tried meditation, but my mind is too busy. It’s not for me.”
It’s not that the mind is too busy, but that they’re afraid of what they might find and what the mind will reveal about themselves.
Understandable. But not good enough to toss the practice out.
You may have heard the adage, “what you resist, persists.”
🖐The resistance then, is not that the mind is too busy. The resistance is that once the mind reveals itself there’s no more hiding and you’ll need to step up and take ownership of the fact that you do have agency.
Plus, we all make choices that are skillful and life-enhancing, and times when we make choices that are quite the opposite. Part of the practice is to become more present and mindful to what we’re making choices about; why we’re making a specific choice and whether the outcome points to enrichment or diminishment of life?
While we’re all doing the best we can at any given moment, taking a good look at the thoughts we ruminate over, the limiting beliefs we have, the black and white thinking that blocks us from a more expanded view of ourselves and the world, is a bit unnerving no doubt.
However, you after all, are the sole air traffic controller of your thinking.
🗝Accepting this truth, is also the key to the kingdom.
Becoming aware of your repetitive thoughts, the emotions that are evoked, and how you handle the circumstances in your life gives you the opportunity to take authorship of your life.
You do have the power to shift your negative imprinting. To write a new story.
It’s not always easy, yet, it is the key to ultimate freedom, more joy and living a full and meaningful life.
So, in the words of the wise and prolific author Steven Pressfield, “put your ass where your heart wants to be.”
It’s that simple!
💖 With love and appreciation, xoxo Paulette Bodeman
P.S. We have a few spots left for Umbria, the 💚 of Italy. The exchange rate is great right now! Contact me for more details.