With the new spring season here, I’ve been contemplating what I want to cultivate more of and rededicate myself to in my practice on and off the yoga mat. Whenever we move into a new cycle, whether marked by a new season, a new month, or even a new moon, it is important to turn inside and ask, “How do I want to enter this new cycle? What do I want to cultivate or reaffirm in my life and my relationships?” Depending on the timing of these new beginnings in our lives, sometimes pausing and asking these questions can be hard. Requiring effort. Maybe even enormous effort, but being the beautifully skilled yogis and yoginis we are, we’re used to effort right? It is effort in balance that we strive for, because it brings us into alignment, into the flow of Grace, into that something bigger, into the joy of the mystery and possibility. It is however, effort nonetheless. So, even in times when it may seem like too much to effort, to pause amidst our busy lives and turn inside, push yourself and do it anyway. It’s worth it! Find the balance that is right for you.
In this long awaited springtime, just start with one sentence. Choose something easy that resonates with you. Something that you’d like to cultivate more of in your life. To cultivate more love. To cultivate more down time. To be more mindful of time in general. To remember. To practice. For me, I want to cultivate more Awareness within my community and myself.
Recently I read The Heart of Meditation by Sally Kempton, and on the very first page she says, “There is only one thing in the Universe: Awareness and that Awareness is me.” Still, I read this sentence again and again and each time it blows my mind. She is so right. After all where would we be without awareness? Without it, would we know how or what to choose in life as the choices reveal themselves? Without any self-awareness, how would we be able to relate to each other?
Remembering to connect to our own awareness is part of the practice. We do it on the mat when we hug the midline and move our thighbones in, back, and wide. We do it when we bring the head of our arm bones back and melt our hearts. On the mat, the awareness is usually there. Off the mat, well, it is harder to remember. I asked one of my teachers for advise on this practice of awareness off the mat, and she offered me a very simple question. She said, “How did you walk through the door? How would you have liked to?” My immediate response was, “What door?” To which I got no answer, only a slight smile. After sitting with this I realized she meant both the literal and metaphorical door. We are all so powerful that we have the ability to affect all the people around us without even knowing it. Seriously, you are that powerful! That is why cultivating self-awareness and being mindful of all those around you is so important.
My new practice, which I offer lovingly to all of you, is to begin to pay attention in this new season, this new cycle, to how you walk through the door of wherever you are. Pause and ask, “How do I want to walk through the door?” The door of this new season? The door of the approaching month? How do you want to walk through the door of your home? The door of your work? The door of Yoga Sanctuary? The door of your own heart? Each of the doors in our lives lead to the next, they are all intertwined. Practice walking with awareness through one, and you will be able to walk through all. Think of it as a wonderful way to start over. Do some spring-cleaning and cultivation. Remember, the way you enter affects the way all the people around you walk in. So choose carefully! And if you forget to pause or make a mistake, just remember it is all part of the great practice of yoga, and ask yourself, “ How did I walk through that door, and how would I like to walk through next time?”
Written by Suzie Goldstein