October 20, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam
Dear All, I think a recap of the Eight Limbs of Yoga might be necessary for those who have recently joined the blog. Please follow this link for more information:
It is true the West has taken yoga and made it its own. In the West yoga translates into a form of stretching or exercising. In Patanjali’s plan, however, this portion, known as Asana, is only a small part of the Eight Limbs. It has no more, nor less, value than the other portions of yoga. For the purposes of this blog, it is important to me to highlight the other portions — which I hope I am doing. I will let the thousands of others who are writing about asana do their job (which they are doing very well.)
This morning when I went to the local coffee shop, I watched as a man, waiting for the employee to turn her back, slipped three crumpled ones into her tip jar. I loved this act. For me, this is true generosity: giving without expectation. A perfect act in a small gesture. In yoga terms, this is an expression of Ahisma. Ahisma means giving kindness and compassion. It applies not just to others, but to ourselves.
I had a day today where I needed all the compassion I could find. As I write this blog, I am stopping at intervals to do forward folds. The purpose of asana is to join the mind, body and spirit. One of the purposes of forward folds is to bring the attention into the body and away from the outside world. I do this today because I am going through a period of fear.
The fear I am feeling is only partly logical. In May, my dog Shorty was attacked by coyotes. We let the dogs out to do their business at about 9:00 p.m. and four coyotes were waiting in the yard. The coyotes separated the two large Golden Retrievers from the small 20 pound Shorty and were dragging him away. I ran outside screaming and kicking until the coyotes left. Then I couldn’t find Shorty because it was dark. Finally, with all my yelling for him, Shorty was able to come into the house. Mike was already in bed and Shorty went to him. I didn’t realize Shorty was hurt, I thought he’d gotten through okay. When Mike said, get dressed, we’ve got to take Shorty to the vet, I fell apart. I can’t adequately explain how traumatic this was for me in a way I could expect you to understand. But I ask that you do.
Mike is now the alpha dog for Shorty. Before this happened, I was. So if Mike isn’t home, Shorty doesn’t want to go outside — he doesn’t trust me to keep him safe.
Shorty got excellent, even miraculous care, and survived, but the fear has stayed with us both. I know you probably aren’t interested in this and I also realize how silly it may sound to some of you. After all, we are talking about a dog. But as I said earlier, this fear is only partly based in logic.
The fear has come up now because we have returned from Wisconsin to Colorado: the scene of the crime.
Series of forward folds: http://iyengaryogaaspen.com/asanas_b.html
So tonight I am holding myself in compassion. I am turning inward in forward folds as I try to incorporate the following poem into my spirit.
SONNET 2 FROM “THE AUTUMN SONNETS” by May Sarton
If I can let you go as trees let go
Their leaves, so casually, one by one;
If I can come to know what they do know,
That fall is the release, the consummation,
Then fear of time and the uncertain fruit
Would not distemper the great lucid skies
This strangest autumn, mellow and acute.
If I can take the dark with open eyes
And call it seasonal, not harsh or strange
(For love itself may need a time of sleep),
And, treelike, stand unmoved before the change,
Lose what I lose to keep what I can keep,
The strong root still alive under the snow,
Love will endure — if I can let you go.
Yours in trepidation, Chris