Beginner.

Stay Open. Photo by Daniel Rönnback.
Stay Open. Photo by Daniel Rönnback. 2014, Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France.

One of the things I love about yogasana practice is what mister Iyengar clearly says: “I know the postures from yesterday but today I become a beginner.”

This is a huge challenge.

I like to think that what happens on my yoga mat is a reflex of the things that are happening outside of it. I feel it on the good things and also when a challenge appears.

The challenge of feeling like a beginner is important for me.

What I´ve learn through my yogasana practice is that, everyday I am dealing with a new version of myself. Everything changes constantly and if I forget about it, stagnates my practice immediately.

I love those days when I feel clean, fresh and new not only after the practice but before.

Those days when I am open to the adventure that I can see ahead of me and when, even though I know how to begin, I never know how it will end.

I love when I feel like I am open to find new ways to approach to the “problems” that the practice puts in front of me and that, instead of taking the regular way, I allow my self to experiment and create new points of view. I love when I feel creative. Makes me feel that I am growing.

One of the goals of the yoga practice is to go beyond our egos and, even though I am crushing with my ego constantly, I like to think that, when I feel inspire and creative I am going further in my experience of myself re defining my own limits because, rather than undergo regular mental processes -that do nothing but to strengthen the ego- I can find a new way of dealing with myself, my “problems” and my experience.

It´s beautiful because keeps me humble in front of the beauty and it´s not only my mind that opens, it is my body and my heart also.

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Odyssey.

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As you set out for Ithaka

hope the voyage is a long one,

full of adventure, full of discovery.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:

you’ll never find things like that on your way

as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,

as long as a rare excitement

stirs your spirit and your body.

Laistrygonians and Cyclops,

wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them

unless you bring them along inside your soul,

unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.

May there be many a summer morning when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you come into harbors seen for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind—

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all.

Better if it lasts for years,

so you are old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.

Without her you would not have set out.

She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.

Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

(Ithaca, Konstantinos Kavafis, 1911)

When I first read this poem, eight years ago, the trip was internal, mental, and emotional.

I guess I always wanted to go somewhere I’ve never been able to define but maybe, now it´s time to leave always and nevers behind, and enjoy the abundance of this moment, being faithful, relax and go on in this trip. That remains internal, even though I´m moving a lot.

The Fool.

I feel like I´m new in everything nowadays: A beginner in life or something like that. It´s a pretty honest feeling and sometimes it´s like: “THIS IS AWESOME!!!” but sometimes it´s like “But, come on Ale, I thought you learnt something from the past!!!”

The other day we went to Vågakallen.

It is the biggest mountain around Henningsvaer and after a long walk; you can climb to the summit.

The route we did it wasn´t a difficult climb at all, perfect for me: a super beginner.

When I go with Andreas somewhere in the mountains I always feel like a child, learning from someone who knows A LOT about what he´s talking about.

At the same time, pressure and fear, make my learning process a little slower than I´m used to so I deal with a completely new picture of myself.

Nevertheless, that day we went out and I was thinking all the time: Don´t take this personal, trust yourself, do your best, enjoy.  Like a mantra. Once and again. Breathing consciously (as pranayama taught me), walking as fast as I could and following Andreas´ advices.

Until we came to this place:

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Probably between those rocks there is around 1, 1 ½ meters distance. It´s not that much if you think about it.  Andreas went there and jumped like nothing. Without thinking, just like if jumping over 40 or more meters high it´s a normal thing.

And I was like:

No way.

I can´t.

What happens if I fall?

I´m definitely not going to do this.

Andreas was there, waiting for me on the other side, while I was dealing with myself divided between the fear of jumping, the fear of falling and the fear of being trapped for hours on that rock.

Andreas was VERY nice.

He was there trying to communicate me that it wasn´t that dangerous and that I needed to trust my feet and legs.

In my mind, all the time: No way, I can´t.

Andreas took some precautions while I was there thinking and thinking, saying: Ale, you can do this… One, two… NO I CAN´T!

We were there around 15 minutes, (Andreas says it was between 30 minutes and one hour but, for me time flew faster than ever!!!) Anyway, dealing with yourself and your fears it´s not that easy and, in other conditions, definitely, takes more than 30 minutes.

Until I jumped.

And –since I´m writing this- I survived.

That experience was, by far, one of the most important moments in my life: Taking the chance of doing something even though your mind it´s telling you that there is no way you can do it.

Sometimes in yoga it´s like that.  At the beginning it can be the opposite: your mind saying “Of course I can do that, it seems simple”, but then your body don´t answer. After a few years of practice, when you have to do something new, your mind is more like: No way… Until your body achieves it (and your mind, suddenly, silent.)

On the other side of the jump there was Andreas and I realized why I love him so much.  Also I realized how good he is in what he does. And how much I trust him.

I did the jump, yes, but he was there for me.

My brother made me realize how familiar this experience was with the “first” tarot card: The Fool.

In the regular representation of this card we can see a man standing at the edge of something that looks like a mountain with, probably, an abyss in front of him. But he doesn´t seems to be bothered by that.  Innocent and trusting in the universe, in his dog, in his feet or whatever you want, it seems that he will continue walking no matter what.

Actually, the fool is one of the “unnumbered” cards of the deck.

The fool represents the beginning of an important journey.

Maybe feeling like a beginner it´s not that bad after all. Its the fool a fool after all?

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Mens sana in corpore sano (part II)

During the last months I have been meeting a lot of people that doesn´t practice yoga at all and, many of them are athletes or have a strong passion for climbing, running or skiing. Meeting them have been really inspiring for me because I have seen that behind the physical discipline that any sport requires, we can find a lot of really interesting points of view about life, mind and existence.

I wrote a post about this a few weeks ago and today, thanks to elephant journal, I found this video where Sakyong Mipham –a Buddhist lama and marathon runner- talks about the connection between body-mind and awareness.

Maybe for some of you the connection it’s obvious. If this is the case, I encourage you to analyze what hides behind obvious, it can be interesting. All of this, at least for me, has been a really interesting discovery. J

 

Magic summer !

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Surrounded by mountains, islands and sea, climbers and adventurers. Surrounded by cloudberries and cod. I´ve feel lost and I´ve returned to find myself. I left my heart just to return to it again and again.

At times exhausting, at times really exciting – Inspiring all the time.

I´ve gone deeper in my yoga practice, feeling my body changing constantly, feeling more strength than ever and, at the same time, feeling really sensitive to everything around me, just as Swami Gitananda Giri said: “You are just becoming more sensitive and you are paying the price for conquering this sensitivity.”

I´ve been sharing my small knowledge freely and receiving in return a lot of love, honesty and gratitude.

But the most grateful here it´s myself.

The first truth is that I already had a summer in the southern hemisphere this year.

The second truth is that these months had been a little wet, windy and chilly for the concept of summer that I used to have. I am not t complaining, not at all. How can I complain when it´s right here, on the breakdown of my mental concepts, where hides the secret that has made this summer a magical one?

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