Present-centeredness…

Present-centeredness...

So resolve yourselves. It’s not just by sitting with your eyes closed that you develop wisdom. Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind are constantly with us, so be constantly alert. Study constantly. Seeing trees or animals can all be occasions for study. Bring it all inwards. See clearly within your own heart. If some sensation makes impact on the heart, witness it clearly for yourself, don’t simply disregard it.

Ajahn Chah

Photo by Daniel Nahabedian

(from tumblr blog: ombuddha)

(my tumblr blog: 1barfootgirl)

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What Do You Bring…?

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I have been reading and hearing a lot about the good and bad of practicing yoga asana…the physical aspect of yoga, Hatha yoga, let’s make this clear. I been hearing a lot about what it’s good for, health-wise. what it’s bad for, health-wise… What it can do for you in the way of making you feel better…about yourself?…about the human race?…about your body? Yoga postures can do a lot of things for you – more than you’ll ever know probably, and the pursuit of this knowledge is alive and well in all of us – students and teachers alike. I see it in the faces of my students, and other students in other classes. Eager to learn. But…some of them, somehow are less eager to work for this knowledge. Some think they already know and I sense a kind of deadness in these people. One girl in a class at a gym…she’s doing trikonasana (triangle)…one hand in the air…limp…falling almost. The attitude of her body, arched and a bit contorted. Her head heavy. Her eyebrow cocked and mouth slightly open. I can’t tell if she’s breathing. Maybe this one’s jaded…has been doing yoga asana for-e-ver, but somehow, now, is just going through the motions. No one stops to adjust her…Encourage her to go deeper. It is not considered good yoga etiquette to be directive…any more. Used to be that yoga was about deepening your experience and accepting instruction. Maybe she doesn’t like adjustments for just that reason. It’s insulting, she thinks. She’s been practicing in the corner of the room. Without realizing, she has isolated herself and has become passive aggressive and withdrawn in her own practice. So this is it. This is what yoga can teach you. Today when I start my own class, I begin by saying, “…if you do any yoga posture – any at all, it will do something for you. You will get that stretch you’re looking for. You will achieve that posture (in your body) with practice. You will get something out of doing it. But…that is only the beginning of your yoga practice. Now it’s time to change things around…to give something back. Change your notion of always getting and taking something from yoga: what it’s good for, what it’s bad for… Turn your mind from expectations. Rather, Bring something to Yoga. Your yoga practice. Ask yourself what can you give to your practice on your mat right now? During the ninety minutes we’re here. What do you bring?”

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Just as an aside… during my class when I asked “What do you bring?”, one of my long time students yelled out, “MY BREATH!” So cool! 🙂