The big sky is wild mind. I’m going to climb up to that sky straight over our heads and put one dot on it with a Magic Marker. See that dot? That dot is what Zen calls monkey mind or what western psychology calls part of conscious mind. We give all our attention to that one dot.
This goes on endlessly. This is monkey mind. This is how we drift. We listen and get tossed away. We put all our attention on that one dot. Meanwhile, wild mind surrounds us. Western psychology calls wild mind the unconscious, but I think the unconscious is a limited term. If it is true that we are all interpenetrated and interconnected, then wild mind includes mountains, rivers, Cadillacs, humidity, plains, emeralds, poverty, old streets in London, snow, and moon. A river and a tree are not unconscious. They are part of wild mind.
This is what Zen asks you to do: to sit down in the middle of your wild mind. This is all about a loss of control. This is what falling in love is, too: a loss of control.
Can you do this? Lose control and let wild mind take over? It is the best way to write. To live, too.
All life is a series of problems that we must solve.
You must go on adventures to find out where you belong.
Written by yoga instructor, Anya Morgan, ‘14 Valentine’s Day can be a tough time for the brokenhearted and/or bitterly alone. Personally, I can’t ever hang out with couples for an extended…
Okay, for real, everyone has to read this. I laughed and almost cried at multiple points in this kickass article. Here are some gems:
It may not surprise you to find out that I deal with Valentine’s Day the same way I deal with most things: I do a shit ton of yoga. I do yoga until I collapse facedown on the mat. I do yoga until I have no more sweat left in my body (ew).
Obviously you are worthy of love, you dingdong. But I get it. When I’m feeling like I’m missing some ghostly other half (or missing an unspecified number of other ghostly fractions, for my polyamorous readers), I go for a self-empowering intention: I dedicate my yoga practice to me.
While I’m not necessarily single this V-Day, this holiday has most definitely lost its romantic meaning to me from all the V-Day’s I spent single and pissed off or recently broken up and heartbroken. Now, when I think of V-Day I think of Eve Ensler and yoga and the heart chakra. Regardless of who I’m with. Regardless of my relationship status. Regardless of whether or not I am feeling love(ly) or not. It helps me to let go of expectations and let in the joy that is love and getting over breakups and self-love and friendships.
So to this article, I say a whopping NAMAST-FUCKING-STE!
Self-love is the foundation of our loving practice. Without it our other efforts to love fail. Giving ourselves love we provide our inner being with the opportunity to have the unconditional love we may have always longed to receive from someone else.
We often think of love as a noun-something that we want to get, to own, to have-but it is most profoundly a verb. Love is something we do-it is an act of giving, of receiving someone else into your essential being, of making yourself open and vulnerable. Love is an act of commitment, of trust and understanding. Love arises from pleasure: it is kept intact through commitment and communication and nurtured by vision. It is the universal force that dissolves boundaries and leads to union.
Creating Your Own Home Yoga Practice Q&A
On Saturday, at the Yoga U workshop I taught, lots of questions came up concerning the most effective ways to create a sustainable home yoga practice. This was a workshop that I had been planning for weeks. Needless to say, I was bursting with excitement. So much so that all the information I had stored from my own practice seemed to come out in a gush. So much so that before I knew it, the 2 hours were up and I let the workshop go five minutes over so that everyone could bask in their savasanas. There were some questions that went unanswered there and I thought that this forum would be the perfect place to answer them.
How can we keep ourselves motivated? How do we cultivate and maintain discipline for a home yoga practice?
Motivation and discipline are interesting components of the yogic lifestyle. On the one hand, we want to leave room for spontaneity (what a fellow teacher calls spontaneasana) and creativity. On the other hand, we must use discipline to motivate us to create the conditions for spontaneity and creativity to arise. In my teacher training, the director had us brainstorm all the negative associations we had with the word “discipline.” Many of us come from sports teams or strict parents; our association with that word tends to be ridden with guilt, shame, and punishment, cultivating the negative thoughts that yoga is about quieting. Yet in Yoga, discipline is heat. It’s tapas. It’s what keeps us moving, flowing, dynamic beings. Here are some of the suggestions I have heard for keeping the practice going strong in positive, motivating ways:
- Put your mat right next to your bed so that you have to step on it in order to get out of bed. Master yoga teacher Sheri Celantano did this when she first started her daily home practice to “guilt” herself into practicing until it became a Joy.
- Practice at the same time every day and start super small.
- Keep a practice journal/log.
- Practice with a friend so you can keep each other motivated (like gym buddies).
- Set reminders on your phone.
How can we plan a proper number of poses?
Have a set 5-7 poses that you always do. If you don’t have much time, just do those 5-7 poses (they will then be so ritualized in your mind that you will know every bit of alignment they’re about). If you have more time, flow between those poses and create transitions that weave them together with other poses. That, my friends, is how a 5 minute practice can easily transform into a 90 minute one.
What should I include if I am hoping to work towards crow?
- Malasana Twists
- Open Hips
- Standing Marichi
Bottom line: hip openers hip openers hip openers
What are the best ways to prepare the space for a yoga practice?
Create an altar if that’s your thing. Read my chapter on preparing a dorm room for a yoga practice. Put a poster of Beyonce or of Hindu deities on the wall in front of you. Place a block and blanket on your mat to create a meditation cushion. Use essential oils. Light some incense or if your school doesn’t allow that, place an electric candle in front of your mat. Clean your room beforehand.
What things/smells/sounds in the room should you be conscious of? Are there any herbal cleanses or aromatics that you suggest to transform the feel of your living space into a spiritual exercise space?
Use amazing music (be conscious and intentional with your playlist). Pour glitter on your mat. Rub your temples with lavender before savasana and with a more energizing peppermint during the warmup. Check out some resources on aromatherapy.