Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Despite the cold temperatures here in Michigan this week, spring is upon us. It is a wonderful time of transformation as we witness all of the beauty in nature waking up from a long winter's nap. It was also the perfect week to practice Sauca, which means cleanliness or purity. It can refer to cleanliness of the body or home environment, or it can also refer to purity of our thoughts and actions.

Keeping myself and my home environment clean was the easy part of practicing Sauca this week. Cleanliness and organization are a way of life for me! However, there is a lot more to Sauca than making sure the laundry and the dishes are done. This week I set a goal to try and practice some form of yoga or meditation each day to cleanse my mind and feed my soul.

On Monday I practiced yoga at home and on Tuesday I practiced meditation. On Wednesday I needed to relieve some stress after a long day at work so I took a walk outside to clear my head. While I was walking I tried to open myself to the universe around me, directing my awareness to any signs of spring that I encountered along the way. On Thursday I went to my favorite Yin yoga class at the studio.

The only day I missed was Friday. I worked at home all day and then I went to get some Easter gifts for my nieces and nephews at Target. I think it is a little bit of a stretch to consider retail therapy as a form of yoga. Although if they ever decide that it does count, I will be one of the most dedicated practitioners.

On Saturday, I had a wonderful experience of practicing Karma yoga, which is also referred to as selfless service. Our entire teacher training group met up at the Gleaners Food Bank and volunteered for the afternoon packing up boxes of food. Throughout the week I was definitely able to purify my body and my mind through the various activities.

Today was our regular Sunday teacher training session. We always start the day with meditation and then we practice yoga for about an hour. Today our teachers announced that each of us would pair up with another student and we would each deliver the one-hour class that we had written a few weeks before. But there was a catch. We couldn't use any notes. We had to deliver our class from memory.

The entire group was a little shocked at first because none of us had prepared in advance. I reviewed my notes quickly over the lunch break and then dived right in. In a way, it was nice to teach the class without notes because it freed me up to speak from the heart and focus on the student who was sitting right in front of me. Instead of trying to deliver the class perfectly, I just did the best I could.

I purposely paired up with one of the girls that I do not know as well, as opposed to picking one of my friends as my partner. At the end of my class she sat up on her mat, gave me a huge smile and said "That was awesome!"

I was taken aback by her genuinely positive reaction to my class. It was the most exhilarating feeling I have had in a long time. Over these past few months I have cultivated my interest in teaching yoga. And just like the flowers starting to come alive in the garden, I am finally starting to grow into the person I want to become.

Spending two days this weekend immersed in all things related to yoga felt so good for my body, my mind and my soul. I know that I am on the right path. The question is how much longer can I wait.

Here I am on Sunday evening and I am overwhelmed by a sense of dread knowing that tomorrow I have to walk into the soul crushing environment that is my job. As I get closer to my goal of becoming a yoga teacher and experiencing life in a way that is authentic to me, it only highlights the great divide between who I am and what I do for a living.

I was talking about my job with one of my teachers during class this weekend. I explained to her my plan to work in corporate America for one more year until my house is paid off, and then I will be free to do what I really want. She listened to my story and then observed that despite the timing I have laid out, it sounds like I am ready now. I think she is right about that. In fact, I have been ready for a long time.

I keep telling myself that it is only one more year, but what if it was the last year of my life? Would I still look at it the same way? Many of us spend our lives with one foot in and one foot out, afraid to make the leap until we are certain of where we are going to land. And there is nothing wrong with that. But people who are driven by their higher purpose don't always wait until they can see exactly where they are going before they take the leap.

As my teacher told me "Sometimes we need to close one door completely before we can see another door open in front of us." If I continue to put my faith in the master plan of the universe, then at some point I may have to test her theory.

So, did any of you practice Sauca this week by doing some spring cleaning or maybe starting on a healthy eating plan? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments section.

We will have the weekend off for the Easter holiday, so we will be practicing the next principle of yoga for two weeks. It is called Santosa, which means contentment. To practice Santosa means to be at peace with one's lifestyle, even when experiencing life's difficulties. It reminds us that there is a purpose for everything and we should simply accept what happens. In other words, we should be happy with what we have rather than being unhappy about what we do not have.

Given all of my struggles between work and my authentic self, this will be a good time to set aside some of those thoughts and enjoy where I am on this journey of life.

As always, you are welcome to practice Santosa with me. I will be back in two weeks to let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, take a moment to walk around in your backyard and experience the magic of spring.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.” ― Ramana Maharshi