I work every day, teach yoga full time, maintain a family home, do my practice, try to keep some heathy level of social interaction going, and have an energetic 3 year old glued to me the second I wake up each morning, yet it never feels like I’m doing enough. I find myself feeling like I have to apologize a million times a day for all the calls I can’t take, the events I can’t get to, and the emails I’m trying to get back to…it makes me feel so bad, like I’m letting people down, or not good enough at all of this, yet I never stop moving & working. I have to put my family obligations first, yet still I’m constantly cleaning or planning something for Dhyana Yoga. I wonder, are other Moms struggling with this or am I the only one straddling these canoes? There’s nothing that means more to me than being a great Mom, but I also love my work, work with many of my friends and want to be there for them. I just have to find a way to balance out the two, eventually. But for now, and until my little girl has a schedule that allows me to spend more time away from home, I can only do so much, because in the midst of everything I do get done, I absolutely have to stay present for this little gem right here, my daughter, Lorraine 💖 I just hope people understand and can give me and all Moms a little extra time, a little break, or just appreciate how hilariously hard it is for us to simply get out of the house everyday. I hope I can kick this apology habit — It’s not something I want to pass on, and feels disempowering. I’m working on “taking the opposite thought,” as the Yoga Sutra recommends — I am enough, I do enough, I have enough…and no apologies necessary!
“As she walked alone on the forest path, she knew her mind had nothing to offer but recycled advice that always took her to the same place of confusion. So she slowed down, paused, and moved into her heart.
It was here that she could hear the heartbeats of all the other women in the world who were searching, just like her. In that moment, she knew that advice was not needed.
The only thing she needed was to reach out her hand to another woman who would take her hand and remind her that the journey to the heart takes time… it is a slower walk than the run to the mind. The slower walk into the interior landscape gradually cleared the forest path with a tenderness she never imagined…”
Work As Ritual
Every morning on my way back to our apartment from the shala I had an opportunity to see the neighborhood of Gokulum awaken to a new day. Each day there’s a very simple task that most, if not all, homeowners seem to take great joy in doing. They work diligently at cleaning their entryways, from doorstep to the driveway out to the street and even beyond. There’s a pleasing sound to the task as the women of the house brushes her homemade broom along the concrete and pavement. Then after they sweep, the entire area gets another scrubbing with water. After all is done it sparkles. The final touch is a glyph carefully drawn by hand using rice flour.
They do this every morning!! The work takes some time depending on the size of the property.
It may have been the post practice euphoria or the intoxicating sights, sounds and smells (some good, some bad) of Mysore but I had the sense that each woman was not doing this to simply “clean house” but instead to welcome the divine into their home. A prayer through work.
As practitioners of yoga and on the path to spirituality our efforts into our daily practice should be seen in this same light. Effort not just for the sake of effort but to commune with the divine. To learn that the act of work can be an act of reverence. In practice it is not effort for physical or emotional refinement but to transcend into the realm of the Self.
It may not be a god or the divine you are seeking but instead a clearer understanding of your Self. That’s a capital “S”, Self. The Self that is spoken of in the Yoga Sutra, Vedas, Upanishads and so on. The Self that is the pureness of our own being that has been masked by all of life’s happenings. Through a light-hearted approach to your practice the shackles of the material are unlocked and the True Self (Atman) gains some command of your daily actions. And that’s the catch. Ashtanga is set up in a way that it can create desire towards the material. There can be anticipation for the next posture or a desire to have the perfect Janu C or possible frustration arising when the body is not as light as the day before. These thoughts must be held in check and in doing so mental fitness is gained. From this mental fitness, a certain level of respect for this practice and maturity towards it alters our perspective so that we may prepare our own entryways to welcome in the Self.