Monday, September 22, 2014

Getting rid of grains of sand



Yoga is a never-ending process of purification. 
Every time I engage in my practice I let go of a grain of sand stuck on my muddy glasses which prevents me from seeing the reality the way it is. 
Hence my suffering. 
Yoga can be compared to a preparation for a final exam - there's a number of subjects one needs to comprehend in order to happily pass it and achieve this perfect unlimited freedom we all head for. Philosophy-Asanas-Mudras-Pranayama-Shatkarma-Meditation.
One of the most fundamental elements of Patanjali's yoga regarding individual discipline is sauca, cleanliness, understood multidimensionally. 
Not only do we attend to personal hygiene and keep our closest surrounding neat and clean, but also we reach for purifying techniques, proper diet, cosmetics (the latter ones being at least non-tested on animals and paraben-free). 
Then, on a more subtle level we purify our minds from afflictive emotions and thoughts, such as judging, aversion (all our likes and dislikes), envy, attachments and desires. 
Most easily - through  meditation on their imperfection, acknowledgement and awareness where they will take us.
So if I'm jealous of my man for no reason I become conscious that my oversensitive imagination, wild beast is just about to take me to some dark unpleasant place I don't want to be.
Or if I want something so badly it makes my soul cry I contemplate impermanence -  the fleeting pleasure this very thing will finally turn out to be. 
Then it's my choice if I still want to pursue it, not my feverish need.
After all - all my journeys I'd been dreaming so much of, came to an end. 
I would always get back on a plane and land in Warsaw.
Same with my beloved studies, relationships and all I derived joy from.  
Completely temporary (yet refreshing and congenial).

So each time I stand on the mat I transform the tamas of my body and the rajas quality of my mind into sattva. 
Each time I sit in meditation, breathe, do a cleansing technique such as nauli kriya or trataka I get rid of one tiny impression, samskara which will enable me to perceive everything more clearly. 
And it's a never ending story because as the day goes by one thing will irritate us, other attract and attach. 
We will want to reach somewhere, achieve something, we'll use bad language, be unkind, lazy, we'll see ourselves as better, and others as worse or non-deserving (or the other way round).
So not only do we have to purify our long-ago accumulated karma but also the one we're gathering right on the spot.

Yoga.
A never-ending process of purification.

Friday, September 5, 2014

What's yoga of the heart?


At times I have those black, disturbing thoughts and feelings that my practice made me a much worse person I used to be.
Infantile as it might sound, I firmly yet mistakenly believed yoga would turn me into a living Buddha or Jesus Christ.
Wisdom-Peace-Bliss-Pure Light.
Well, what I definitely dare say is that Yoga made me aware of  defilements and detours my heart and mind might make.

Yoga happens when one voluntarily imposes discipline upon themselves with the intention that it will liberate them from suffering.
Yoga, yoke-union-relationship-oneness.
The heart requires some yoga training too, it's not only about putting the body into asanas.
Apparently it is possible to train the mind to be compassionate, mindful and loving.
Depending on what enlightened qualities one seeks, there are numerous practices to follow
Want a long life? - take White Tara
Compassion - Metta meditation
Health - Hathayoga and shatkarma
Not to mention there's a mantra from such a long spectrum of wishes from a physical healing to sacred love making.

Whenever one takes up any spiritual practice, be it yoga, religion, meditation, art, sexuality, or even a hobby, it will encourage our demons to come to the surface.
So rest assured that after the initial betterment of almost everything in your life, every so often  you'll have to confront and explore your deepest wounds, shadows, shame, unforgiven things, unsaid stories still running rampart.
It always hurts when we collect shattered glass, it's like spiraling back into depression we wanted to overcome so badly.
And I'm no exception to that
After ten or more years of dedicated practice I still have periods of self-loathing
feel I don't deserve,
get frustrated about the future
fear rejection or that I won't be able to live the life I aspire to live.
Crow's feet remind me that I'm not going to be eternally young and pretty,
The truth is I'll age, no man will stare at me anymore, and that I'll die just like everyone else.

I really want to be a genuine yoga teacher, not a sanctimonious phony who's pretending they made no mistake in life, always knew how to act properly, was never dumped and is "all-so-spiritual" they should almost get their own ashram

Yoga of the heart means I consciously choose this more positive side of myself
My heart is trusting and even it the pitch dark I know that I can't have done anything in a different, better way
I honestly admit my flaws and probably I'm a difficult person to be with
Yoga of the heart means that if I judge somebody for something I'm immediately become aware of it and mentally apologize
that I have courage to admit that I lied
Yoga of the heart means I agree to my past
My life story being far from this perfect exemplary autobiography one may live in some smart book...
And yet with this clear state of mind that I have right now I have to say I embrace all my cracks
And I feel there's just so much perfection in this imperfection

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Darkness into Light/Ciemność w światło

 

With the increase in awareness, Yoga brightens up the body from the inside. 
But before it  will be completely lit - darkness has to withdraw. 
Spiritual knowledge will slowly reveal itself.  
This is a yogic process, not a  psychological one. 
It might hurt when the darkness is giving way
I suffer - I practice.
I am elated - I practice.
I love - I practice.
And when I'm the most lonesome person on earth - I practice.
Darkness into light.
Yoga.


Wraz ze wzrostem świadomości Joga rozświetla ciało od wewnatrz.
Ale zanim nasze ciało zostanie rozświetlone - musi ustąpić ciemność.
Wiedza duchowa będzie się odsłaniała powoli.
To proces jogiczny, nie psychologiczny.
Ustępowanie ciemności może boleć.
Praktykuję, gdy cierpię.
Praktykuję, gdy jestem szczęśliwa.
Praktykuję, gdy kocham.
I wtedy, kiedy jestem najbardziej samotną osobą na świecie.
Ciemność w światło.
Joga.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Yoga&cats


Cat is the very embodiment of yoga.
Pure grace
Blissfully relaxed and totally immersed in the present,
No regrets about the past or planning of the future whatsoever.
Similarly to the way asanas should be practiced– cats get into any situation with ease, dwell in elegance and leave gracefully.
Their  body is light, flexible and soft, 
An elastic spine makes them somehow destined for hatha yoga.
Body gospel

Mysterious, and possessing some special connection with the Sublime,
they used to be cult animals in ancient Egypt.
Hatha yoga pradipika teaches us to keep our practice a secret and so cats always have their feline mysteries keeping themselves to themselves.
They can see in near darkness.

Cat's meow meow or purring voice is pleasant to the ear and brings comfort.
No matter what a cat will say - it will make people jubilant!
Their words contribute to general happiness.

Blithe spirit
Their presence is enough.
Their presence evokes warmth and peace.
They’re loving and dedicated healers by being capable of consciously taking their owner’s sickness upon themselves.
Loners by nature, cats can be very loyal and generous – will happily share a bird or mouse they've just caught.
Well-known for their cleanliness and dignity.
Wise and rather aloof – one has to earn their friendship.

Being a cosmopolitan species they’re found across much of the world.
Wandering yogis.

No borders whatsoever but those of the mind.

Meow... 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Yoga and desire - on five disturbing thoughts


So there came a day when you stepped on a yoga mat and started doing all those weird poses with a wish to calm your mind down... 

As Patanjali put it: "Yoga is the suspension of the fluctuations of the mind" (Yoga Sutra 1.2), which means that we take up practice in order to sublimate all that's dissonant and reduce (or ideally: transcend) our suffering. Yoga is to bring us back to our true nature, pure unconditional love, crystal clear state of mind, sheer bliss. However, in the modern world yoga in not any more exclusively practiced somewhere in the Himalayan caves under an enlightened guru. And although its universal dimension and ultimate goal, that is self-realization, haven't changed, yoga nowadays, to a big extent is a well operating industry. In the fifth Sutra Patanjali goes on speaking about the causes of our suffering enlisting five types of disturbing thoughts, called kleshas, namely: ignorance, egoism, desire, aversion, and fear. Having given it a closer look, one may intuitively understand that there's not a single sphere of life kleshas wouldn't penetrate. This also includes the so called "yoga world". Me myself  at times feel haunted by those very five distractions, which turn out to be inseparable from my yoga lifestyle and this path of personal involution. 

1. On ignorance


The more I practice the more I'm concerned about gaps in my knowledge, which I find really bothering. There's still a whole lot of disharmony in my primary ashtanga series and some asanas from secondary and tertiary series just seem to be totally beyond my reach. Those are such poses as mayurasana, confident handstand with no wall support, and other arm balances... I'd like to have a good command of Sanskrit so that I would be capable of reading yoga scriptures in their original form. I wish to know more about Indian history and culture, be able to recognize each and every deity and their myth, give accurate diagnoses and prescribe ayurvedic treatments, go back to my harmonium and Indian singing classes... I just feel I know so little and that awareness of my limited knowledge is really getting me down.
Gosh - will my life be long enough for me to learn it all?

2. Egoism

Why do I do yoga and why do I teach? Is it happening for the sake of showing off and demonstrating how flexible I am? At one of the gyms I used to sub they asked to be their exclusive face just because my slim body would attract more people. Do I teach because I enjoy to be in the center of attention, do I remember that I am there, in the yoga hall to change people's lives for the better?
Do I neglect house chores treating them as something completely uninteresting? Well, much as my place's clean, I really do.  If I have a choice to go and see my grandparents, roll up my sleeves and prepare some home-made meal and do some asanas, I will obviously go for the latter, more obvious option.
Most of the money I make and save goes for my journeys to India or yoga trainings. I live by myself, have no kids to spend money on - everything goes for myself - it that what we call egoistic?

3. Desire

Does my desire to take part in a pricey weekend yoga workshops arise from my genuine wish to deepen my practice and advance or do I just want to mingle with the people that are worth to mingle with, take a snapshot with that yoga superstar, upload it on facebook and happily count all the likes it' s going to earn me afterwards? What if the desire to do another yoga TTC or go to practice in India, in my case Mysore specifically, is simply consuming me? Trendy yoga garb with that little label that is there to somehow define my status, a brand new American yoga mat that's been all the rage recently... Such things only stimulate one's desires instead of curbing them.

4. Aversion

I find a considerable number of things off-putting and gross, for instance meat, eggs, and fish. I just can't imagine how come people can eat something which is dead body or chicken's period...
At times I catch myself thinking unfavorable thoughts and saying negative things about one or another yoga modality or teacher. I dislike it when a class is unchallenging or when a teacher overuses yoga props. In such situations my silence is really gold. And well -  just because I feel no connection with some particular hatha yoga style doesn't mean it's not going to work for somebody else.


5. Fear


Oh yes... those tiny prickles and bristles that will occasionally let one know they're still there. The fear of not being a living example of the shanti shanti state of mind I teach. That distressing uneasiness I may not be able to do all those fancy asanas, fear of an empty yoga hall and that people will not join my classes, of not being able to afford workshops and journeys to India... If you're a sincere practitioner, you can be sure that all your apprehension will sooner or later be brought to the surface. Some people fear exercising barefoot, others are scared of inversions.


Here are three tips on how to deal with the yoga-related kleshas that may definitely cause some discomfort and a sense of unfulfillment:

1. Be mindful
Even noticing a disturbing thought will contribute a whole lot to our daily awareness of what's behind our actions. Am I buying this yoga bra or tight pants because I really need them, or do I want to look sexy for that cute guy next mat I have a crush on? There's nothing wrong with the desire to look attractive, just acknowledge your intention behind the purchase. 
2. Let go
Ok, so you've put a lot of your effort in your practice and see no fruits so far. What fruits were you expecting in the first place? Ask yourself how you'd be feeling if you were not practicing at all. Would you feel better? An ability to perform an elaborate asana is a measure of our progress only to a certain degree. The fact that somebody's body allows them to do splits doesn't mean their mind is calmer than yours. And you may find it really liberating to abandon any fixed idea that your yoga should take any particular shape. 
3. Enjoy 
No matter if it's pascimottanasana or scorpion you're struggling with - you might either approach it with irritation and impatience or with amusement. Ok, you still don't touch your toes in forward bend. So what? I bet there are worse dramas in life ;) Just take it easy and go with the flow. You're practicing yoga! Hey - how great it that!!!

Yoga is about living a happy life.
Yoga is about harmonious relationships with others. 
Yoga is about having no fear to open our heart.
And it has definitely nothing to do with self-imposed frustration!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Big children havin fun

Somewhere in wild parts of eastern Poland right in the middle of the woods in a tiny village there's this magical place...

A fancy gingerbread house...
but if you taste it, a wicked witch will catch ya!
And so the ordeal begins!

No mercy!

She's got a huge oven for misbehaving kids
 I want to be a witch too!
 I already got some sorcerers friends!



Thank you Mirek & Andrzej for the best Sunday ever!

Chatka Baby Jagi, Sosnowka, near Bialowieża, Poland
https://www.facebook.com/chatkababyjagi

Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Yoga Birthday


I'm 31 now.
It feels good to live my own life story in my own body

Happy Yoga Birthday, my dear Ania!

A bunch of roses from the one who's far
Yoga in the park
Friends
Tiramisu
Hello Kitty balloon
Shanti shanti shanti
Blowing a candle
Tibetan incense
Ink-blue stone with a hole
Chai masala
Dance
Painting together in my yoga studio
A delicious dinner at a Hungarian restaurant with my parents

Happy Yoga Birthday!
My own birthday creation. It's gonna be just another awesome yoga year in my life <3