How do you know
you are living your best self?
Recently I heard yoga teacher, Judith Lasater, speak at Octopus Garden Yoga Centre. I hold Judith in high esteem. She influences my restorative yoga teaching. Lasater has a doctorate in East-West psychology and is a physical therapist. Check her out at www.judithlasater.com.
Her topic was “Living Your Yoga”. Perhaps it is my age and stage (getting older), but this is exactly what interests me these days. Yes, I like to practice asana, pranayama and meditation but I am really fired up about how the principles of yoga inform and transform the way I live on a daily basis.
Yoga is intended to be practiced. Done regularly, with commitment, yoga becomes a way of life. You begin to see signs that yoga is working. According to Lasater, there are four signs that you are becoming an integrated person. They are:
1. You become keenly aware of your own mortality.
It is a given that we are going to die. Get comfortable with this. Knowing that you will die is a huge motivator for behaviour. As the poet Mary Oliver writes, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” The practice of savasana helps me to literally practice dying. I imagine it. I feel it as it unfolds. I learn about the process of letting go and surrendering. Nothing is permanent. I don’t have control. Practicing dying can renew your energy for living.
2. You are willing to see an issue from an another person’s point of view.
For the past few months I have been working on developing more empathy, especially with my intimate relationships. When there is a difference of opinion between me and a family member, I try to hear what is their perspective. I can try to hear what is underneath the other persons words. Deep listening creates connection. We don’t have to agree with what the other person is saying, but we can seek to understand. Curiosity helps. A revelation – conflict can be connecting. I didn’t learn that one growing up! When I listen deeply without having to be right, I notice that a softening can arise. This softening can shift the interaction. Don’t we all long to be understood?
3. You choose compassion as a primary response.
Compassion means literally “to suffer with”. Before we feel compassion for others, we need to cultivate it for ourselves. I must understand that I suffer. I need to study how I relate to myself when I suffer. When I acknowledge that I suffer, I then see that others suffer and that suffering is part of being human. We need to forgive ourselves and offer ourselves empathy – for me a work in progress. I am learning to let go of illusions like needing to be perfect. Instead of berating myself when I make a mistake, I am trying to take the attitude “how human of me”.
4. You are part of a sangha.
A sangha is a community of like-minded people who come together. As I live my yoga, I need to connect with people who are on a similar path. It feels safe. I can speak openly and honestly. I get support when I feel disillusioned or discouraged. I ask for feedback when I am stuck. I draw inspiration from members of my tribe. Hopefully people hold me accountable for my actions and challenge me to grow as a human being. This work is impossible to do alone and becomes more alive in relationship.
I have an intense and humble desire to practice these ideas and concepts. Let’s do yoga all the time, not just on our mats. Are you becoming the person you want to be?
My fall drop in schedule is listed below. I hope you'll join me. Please contact me directly if you wish to book a private yoga session.
Wednesday: 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm
Octopus Garden - Gentle Yoga
Thursday: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
889 Yoga - Flow Yoga 1
Thursday: 7:45 pm - 8:45 pm
889 Yoga - Flow and Restore
Sunday: 10:30 am -11:30 am
889 Yoga at The Four Seasons Hotel - All Levels Class