Monday, November 23, 2009

Personal Practice: Admitting Insecurity

I gotta admit, Eco Yogi/ni's, I've been feeling some all around pressure lately. Pressure to be more "green" for sure, but mostly pressure to be more Yogic. I got it in my head for a few weeks that my three yoga asana practices a week just wasn't enough. It didn't measure up to say... other daily practitioners. Where yoga is their LIFE, it's what they do and think and breathe... it's who they are.

Key word- "they". Yoga is definitely an important part of my life, but I have to admit that it isn't My Life, capital letters. Today when the thought of an asana practice made me feel heavy and sad... well that should be a sign right? That even though I still have my own little "me vs they" when it comes to yoga, I should let it go before my personal practice turns into something Else. Ever have those moments?

After all this reading about what yoga should and shouldn't be, or discussions about it's history etc, I've realized that there is definitely something different about how I view yoga and how others do. I always prided myself in viewing it as more than asana, more than the physical. Which I still do. But yoga isn't and never was my faith. Discussions on the Divine, on our divinity, mention of Hindu gods and goddesses leave me feeling disconnected. My faith isn't yoga.

Which perhaps as a result has left me feeling less affected or offended (well, except for my feminist soap boxes of course!) regarding the should's and shouldn'ts or the accuracies and "facts". Perhaps because paganism is "new" AND "old", similarly to yoga, that historical implications have no true sway. I've adjusted quite well to the concept that age or history doesn't affect or lessen my faith.

My Personal Practice tonight has been acceptance of my Authentic Self. Which is to stop pretending to be "all yogi" and to accept that I am "part-yogi" and part-feminist-Goddessian-singer-sensitive-sci-fi lovin' (yep that includes Star Trek)-fantasy reading extraordinaire. Who likes chocolate. Especially fair trade dark chocolate. And coffee. Yum.

Instead of practicing yoga tonight, I played some guitar. After a few songs, halfheartedly sung, I realized that I needed to simply *play*. With that thought, a free-flow melody strummed out... simple and easy. Repetitive, then a switch and a change in feel. A meditative, healing "song" with no end, no lyrics, no thoughts. Just the harmonics, the open chords that brought vibrations through my body and quieted my mind. A few major chords, their related minor chords (thank you classical training) and a feeling of openness.


That was my Personal Practice tonight.

I hope yours was as revealing. :)

Blessings Eco-Yogi/nis!

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. I think it would be pretty boring and sad to just define yourself by one thing...don't you? My blog is about yoga, but it's quite often that I spend my free time reading a novel or rolling around on the floor with my dogs, not even thinking about yoga. I think life is all about striving for sounds like you found some tonight!! : ) Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Great thoughts, Eco. I can only accept a version of Yoga that allows me to associate it with everything else in my life and even my past life before I was into Yoga. Excerpt from my eBook:

    "Yoga knows it doesn’t have a monopoly on this kind of joy, of course. Yoga assumes itself to have discovered universal truths. If you look at almost any moment of pure joy it usually has this character of total absorption in the present moment, where all other concerns and preoccupations fade into insignificance.

    So it’s not surprising that one can come up with countless examples of Yoga-type present-focused joy in every aspect of human life. Yoga is just a powerful way of discovering and exploring this aspect of our existence. Yoga didn’t invent it."

    And this passage:

    "I’m relatively new to Yoga, but in a way not so new if the subject is “transcendent consciousness” rather than Yoga itself. One of the reasons I’m so attracted to Yoga is that I’ve had semi-ecstatic “one-with-the-universe” experiences all my life. They are like the experiences Cope describes in his book as the initial basis for his interest in Yoga, but far more plentiful. I seem to be prone to them, in fact, with or without Yoga. I consider this a great blessing.

    I’ve had them in music, in nature, in literature, in relationships, in tennis, occasionally in religion, in business, in my family, in windsurfing (especially in windsurfing, where one must focus intently on the wind and the angle of the sail for hours at a time), etc."

    So I don't worry at all about how much or how little I "practice" Yoga. I love Yoga because it has helped me to live every part of my life with greater joy, whether I'm actually thinking Yoga at that moment or not.

    (Above excerpts from "Abundance of Joy" )

    I loved your blog.

    Bob Weisenberg

  3. Not to make ya feel any more insecure or anything, but, having recently changed my name to Yoginandmahabaratbhagavadharekrishnaramaramaandanandasuryanamaskarviravindrindrasanachatturangadarudasanapickyernasanashananasanarosannerosanneadansanamumbaimysoreiyengarbikramvinyasaallootandooripaneerdalmasaraswatisamosamaharajjiananda, which was given to me by my Shiva himself in a dream, and taken a vow of silence, writing only in sanskrit from now on (as soon as I get done with this comment), even though I'm essentially illiterate in that language, and basically spending 24 hours a day performing difficult asanas (typing this with one hand while the other is holding me up in a one-handed handstand twist...which is exactly as difficult as it sounds), avoiding all music except for the most traditional kirtans, and having renounced all sexual activity, including masturbation, as well as clothing, bathing, physical comfort of any kind, any food except for one small slice of windborne fruit per day, and any thoughts that don't relate directly to the Divine Oneness, I'm a trifle shocked by your lack of commitment to the yogic thingamabob.

    But, y'know, it's all good...except for the Star Trek thing...which is, y'know...kinda dorky...then, once you've overcome the ego like I have, that doesn't matter...

  4. In the words of Cyndi Lee "don't worry about it, it's only yoga".

    You may be surprised to learn that (shhhh whisper) yoga is not my life either (gasp)! I grew up around yoga, I've practiced most of my life, I trained to teach. I spent four years teaching yoga. But I trained to teach because I loved yoga and wanted to share it. Not because I wanted to dedicate my whole life to yoga.

    Because you see in my life I've also trained in ballet for 14 years, written for newspapers, worked in law, written two (unpublished) novels, drunk coffee, eaten meat, drunk too many Gin and Tonics... oh you get the picture. MY LIFE is my life. It is way to varied to dedicate it to just one thing.

    My practice helps my dodgy spine, keeps me strong and supple, calms my mind, reduces my stress levels. It's much more than, say, a run is. But it is not a spiritual practice in the true sense of the word. Because my spirituality lies elsewhere (I was raised Catholic, you never quite let go of that).

    For my teacher training I wrote an essay on how Yoga is NOT religion. It was much berated by the trainers but I still stand by every word I said.

    Dedicating one's life to yoga works for some people. It would never work for me. But we are still Yogini's. Striving every day for a better life off the mat. The trick is to not feel obliged.

    Lots of love :)

  5. What a lovely post, its so easy get caught up in the shoulds of so many things, all of which takes us away from us.


  6. Great insights! Yoga's not my religion either, but I think it reminds me to keep everything integrated, if that makes sense. I'm pagan with Buddhist sprinkles on top, FYI. :) Stretching my practice in various ways also reminds me to hang loose--I took a YRG class at my gym last week and it was INSANE. Totally unlike the smooth, flowing yoga I usually practice. It kicked my ass six ways from Sunday, but I laughed at myself the whole time.

  7. I think we should all be inspired by YogaforCynics and strive to live up to his example.

    Bob Weisenberg

  8. Rachel: wow you were a lawyer?? I've also been raised a Catholic, but a Roman Catholic with some possible unconcious Maryians in there.... which might account for my Goddess leanings. :) I love that you wrote that report- AWESOME.

    Dr. Jay: BAHAHAHA. seriously. awesome. SOMEDAY I will have such a beautiful name. however, I do not believe I could ever live up to abstinence. not that I NEED sex, but ya know. it's nice.

    I would perhaps qualify 'dork' as more of a 'geek'... makes life interesting. lol.

    Bob: your passages are perfect. I knew you'd get this one :) Also- forgot to mention in my post, but that you reminded me that music used to be a sort of meditation. so that's why I tried it again!

    Jamie: yep totally boring! Happy American Thanksgiving to you too! Hope it was as lovely as ours was :)

    Jen: SO true. 'takes us away from us'...

    Vegan: YRG?? Sounds SCARY. I always find it interesting how I try new classes or styles and am reminded why I like more 'flowy' type classes. But it's fun to try something new and feel like we have something to work at.
    Woot for Paganism! :)

    Bob: perhaps we can have a competition... although I think Dr. Jay's standards are WAY too high for a lowly part-yogini... lol

  9. Hey lady! Great post. I totally agree with you and I think you hit on some really important points.

    I don't know if the yoga I practice is REAL yoga...but, what I do know is that after I practice my heart swells and all I see is joy and love (and I know that sounds all sunshiney...but really, it makes me less likely to snap and cuss...)

    And, sometimes when the thought of practice makes me feel "heavy", which happens often, I listen to music, or dance around my house, or play with my dog, or do one asana...

    I think you're right on!

  10. YRG is batshit power yoga--Ashtanga on crack, basically--developed by a former wrestler (Diamond Dallas Page, if his fame ever preceded him to Canada). The teacher at my gym trained with him and is the only certified YRG teacher in my state. His name's Arthur Boorman and his story/video are all over the Internet. I don't get any of the psychological/mindfulness benefits of more familiar yoga classes, but the workout is incredible.


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