Optimist

 

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I don´t know if you have been feeling it also but, there´s something in the air… Challenges that are asking for the best of us, expansion is on it´s way. Yes, I am talking weird but what else can I do?

My last weeks have been full of challenges and a really deep understanding of myself has come to the surface. At the beginning I was amazed, confused… I thought Wow! I never saw the others clearer than today but the truth is that I never saw myself clearer than now. It´s scary. Many of the patterns that have been defining my life up to this point are so clear that I can´t do anything but see this as a huge opportunity to transcend them. For the first time I can see the purpose of my life in terms of the expansion of “my own” soul.

I always saw myself as an extremely contradictory person. I used to describe my “style” as a line moving in zig-zag between two parallel lines: Going from one extreme to the other was so natural for me, giving all or nothing. By paying these high energetic prices I was able to move forward towards my own spiritual and practical goals.

Actually: three weeks ago.
Years = three weeks ago.

I never fought against this tendency of mine because I actually did create a lot of amazing stuff. I used to just observed it and allowed it to show me what I thought it was important for me to understand that way: through the shock of contradiction, expecting that there was going to be a moment when I was going to be able to understand what was hiding behind…

Now it´s that time:

Cold becomes warm and warm becomes cold.

Weakness becomes strength.

Hell, heaven.

The extremism in the others helped me to crush my boat into my own harbor, understanding the reasons behind that way of being. Well, we know how much easier is to put things in perspective when they are outside of ourselves. Thank God for the others.

1520812_441528782639274_287793576_nNow, again, I am in the middle of a huge wave of changes where all my thoughts about life, death, love and self-love are in the blender: PRRRRMM!!! PRRRMMM!!!!

I feel that I failed in my most precious enterprise, extremely sad, broken and I saw myself as a coward. At the same time, I am going forward in my search of understanding; I feel hope and being broken feels like an opportunity. Uncertainty is my friend, the future seems at times black; sometimes, full of sunshine.

And there I go again: radicalism is in my DNA.

But there is something different now: I saw the comfort hiding behind my way of being; I realized how easy it was for me to go all the way or not make even one step at all. Now that comfort feels suspicious. Today, I don´t identify myself with any of those thoughts and feelings that are either up or down. I don´t identify myself with the sadness or the happiness. Now, I know I have the power to bring harmony to my life.

Now, I will invite the extremes to come towards each other…

Finding balance.

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Duality, unity: the same thing.

I always saw myself as a person with many persons inside of me.

I always thought that the sensation of being composed by many different and –almost all of the time- irreconcilable parts was something that happened to me only (it´s not that I´m schizophrenic, it´s much more simple –or complex- than that), until I realized that it´s something that happened to everyone and that fact, somehow, made me feel better.

When I started my yoga practice 11 years ago, I learnt that the word yoga comes from the root “yuj” that means to join or unite and I thought: Wow, this is going to be interesting!

In Iyengar yoga we divided the body, every time, into littler and littler parts.

At the beginning the instructions are in the arms and legs, then it´s about the joints, bones and muscles, then it´s the flesh and the skin, going deeper and deeper until one day you realize that you are feeling the cells of your body.

Always when I´m  teaching, since I´m the one creating the divisions, I laugh to myself because  it´s kind of funny that this -apparent- contradiction can lead you to realize that you are just one big thing and that, everything is interconnected.

How can this be possible?

From my experience you can´t experience union if you didn´t experience division first. And I can say the same in the opposite way. We have the example of the coin: each coin has two sides and you can´t separate them from each other, otherwise, there won´t be a coin anymore. We can say the same about life and dead / good and evil/ light and darkness. We can say the same about ourselves.

But say something it´s different from experience something. And, for me, this is where yoga helps A LOT. Trough the yoga practice you can experience that FROM division, you have unity. Because one IMPLIES the other. This experience is something that you not just have in your brain but it´s actually happening in your body. You are -from this idea of dividing yourself into different layers going deeper and deeper- developing a new sensibility from outside in until you realize that the layers doesn´t exist anymore.

Everything we know, we can realize it (and appreciate it) because it has an opposite side, but those sides are not divided, just like the coin.

From the awareness of contrast comes the sensation of unity until we realize (not trough the brain but trough the experience), that there´s a point where the opposites not only meet but are the same.

And for me that is breathtaking. And all the “Alejandras” inside of me feels liberated.

My hip or, A way to deal with ignorance.

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Yoga practice helps you to rediscover the forgotten link between your mind and body and this, under my experience, always modify the way you see illness and health, pleasure and pain.

When I started my practice, I remember how surprised I was when I heard my teacher saying: If you feel pain, observe it, don´t run away, try to see why that pain appeared in this moment.

During the lasts months I have been feeling some pain in my left hip: it´s a pain that comes and goes, that change and that, sometimes makes me feel angry but, other times, makes me feel compassion for myself.

There are some days where the pain moves me closer to the practice. I know that, after practice I will feel better: the pain diminishes or disappears completely. But, other days, the pain takes me away from the practice because my thinking process is something like: Ok, this pain is the result of my ignorance. There´s something that I´ve been doing wrong all this years so, if I continue practicing there´s a chance for the injury to get bigger.

During those days it´s really difficult to get and sit on my mat without an anger feeling inside me.

But then, the question is:  

Where do you find more ignorance?

Try to do something you love, even if there´s more than once chance that you´re not understanding everything of it?

Or, not do it at all, just because you´re afraid?

Patañjali (II.3) shows us Avidya as the first cause of suffering (kleshas).

When I think about it, my concept of ignorance talks about not-knowing something; ignorance has to be with inexperience.

I think this is an important concept.

It´s impossible to be able to understand something or to feel experienced in a subject since the first moment. And this is really hard to handle for the ego because there´s an awesome sensation when you feel that you´re good at something.

But, being lost, being confused and wrong, feeling inexperienced it´s part of the way, if you want to be able to feel the opposite. In this case, my pain is telling me that there´s something that I need to change; I need to revalue my practice. I have a lot of interpretations for it but, it´s more important to me, to be able to continue my practice more than ever because, when your ego is telling that you don´t need it (and my ego it´s telling me that when I´m angry) probably, it´s when you need it the most.

I´ve have experienced more than once how concepts that at first glance seem opposites, always meet somewhere. I already wrote about the feeling of being a beginner and I did the question if the fool is a fool after all… When you´re empty you´re full of space and, when you feel pain because you did something wrong, you´re learning something. Probably it´s something like this that I read today: “The non-dual reality lies beyond all appearing dual expressions.”

My ignorance it´s making me suffer physic pain but, behind that pain I can see hard work and the passion of doing the thing I love.

I know it´s time to go deeper in my practice (or time to go to the doctor), injuries come to tell you something.

I want to say that I can see the sign behind this pain but, meanwhile I understand the meaning and heal myself, I can do as my teacher thought me: observe my pain, and try to see what´s going to teach me this time.

Transform yourself and eliminate the bullshit :)

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Finding yoga was, for me, the beginning of a transformation that continues until today. Even though I was pretty young, since the first moment I knew I found something significant. At the same time, I knew it needed time, practice and patience to grow up. But the seed was already in my heart.

In a slow rhythm, my practice was something that had this “in crescendo” process. Every day was longer, deeper or more intense.

I don´t know when it happened that the practice started to be a moment of deep connection with myself. I mean it´s not the same type of connection you get during a yoga class or after savasana… It´s something that goes beyond that and that now, after 11 years of practice I can see like a continuous “observing myself transforming” mode.

Observing myself made me feel bad sensations sometimes: I´m not a super self confident kind of person, I have a lot of problems finding the limit between “following the flow” and “going for it” type of attitude, I sometimes just don´t know what I want.

In the other hand, in that observation I, somehow, learnt how to accept myself without many judgments, being aware of my reactions and changes, knowing that them were there teaching me much more about myself than any verbal explanation.

The other day I saw a movie called Riding giants. The movie it´s about big/giant waves surfer and the evolution of the sport since mid ’50s until now.

The movie is about a passion that goes beyond words, a passion for doing something that not just makes you happy but gives meaning to the fact of being alive (or dead).

It´s not rational at all. It´s something that it´s there in your guts or not.

Sometimes something happens in life: Maybe you had an accident, lost your job or someone you loved. Maybe you found a new practice or routine that makes you feel better. Sometimes there´s a breaking point that makes your life upside down and it´s not easy to discover that this is an opportunity to transform yourself. Sometimes its something dramatic, sometimes it comes in waves.

In the movie, Mark Renneker (who is a surfer and a doctor working with cancer patients), said something that touched my heart.

He said: “One of the things I love a about my work as a physician (…) is to see what often takes place which is transformation, they just begin to sort of eliminate the bullshit and they begin to actually live, almost for the first time. Those kinds of life changing events can come from illness, they can come from revelation, they can come for me, in a way, from big wave surfing.”

Eliminating the bullshit is the only way we have to make ourselves lighter. And I think it´s easy to realize that it´s full of bullshit everywhere but most of it, it´s in our heads. Distrust, taboos, the fear of change, our own mental square structures and all the things that are there, stopping us from doing what we want to do.

We can do it in the way we want, Dr. Rekenner found surf, I found yoga but I´m finding new things every day: The sunlight trough my window or the smile of a kid, the moving tail of a dog, the sound of my favorite song or being able to touch the skin of the people I love… I use all of those things as everyday reminders.

You have to have something inside if you want to start to empty yourself. And yes, even though we think there´s nothing, there is always something. No-thing it is Some-thing.

I don´t know what´s the meaning of life. I don´t even know if it has any sense being standing on two legs in this planet moving in the corner of the galaxy but there´s one thing that feels real for me and that it´s this voice in my head telling me: Don´t be afraid, remove the bullshit, make the package lighter and try to find the answers for the questions that you have in your heart.

All the rest will come.

Yoga as an Olympic Sport?

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I have been discovering so many things during the last months.

This blog is talking a lot about yoga but also, about where yoga takes you: physically, mentally and spiritually. And the conclusion, if there is one, is:

Isn´t all just the same?

Isn´t all just my body-mind-spirit mixed together, trying to find some certainty in the ocean of uncertainty that it´s this moment, life?

Here it´s the link for an article I wrote for elephant journal about Yoga as an Olympic sport. The idea it´s has been around for a while now…

So, what do you think? 🙂