I love how yoga can light up your life. In fact, I’m in the final stages of writing a book about that very topic.
Well, it’s actually morphed into an e-course. With videos and stuff. And I’m hoping you can give me a bit of advice. But more about that later – back to yoga.
By ‘yoga’, I don’t mean just the physical poses, or even the breathing or meditation bits. I mean the whole deal, including the philosophy which is ancient and yet so current.
I base most of how I try to live on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Like any good self-help book, er, I mean, instruction manual, they outline ways to live: Yamas. They aren’t rules, exactly. More like…well, Nona Jordan calls them Power Principles, and I think she’s nailed it.
The first of those is Ahimsa.
‘A’ is a negative prefix, and ‘himsa’ means ‘harm’.
At the moment, I prefer calling it gentleness, which someone suggested as an alternative the other day.
I’m fairly gentle with others, most of the time, unless it serves them for me to be firm.
I’m not always gentle with myself. But I’ve been practising.
I’ve also been practising the Ahimsa principle of defending my boundaries when needed: like a dog growling when you get to close to their owner.
It’s AMAZING how much people will take the piss if you don’t growl occasionally.
You end up getting walked all over, and that’s harmful for everyone involved: you, because of the violated boundaries, and the other people, because they continue to behave in ways that don’t serve them in the long term.
That’s one of the things I find most fascinating: you have to be pretty strong to stand in the light, because you always bring your shadow self with you. Of course you do, it’s part of you. But you have to be brave and strong to look at that shadow, without being swallowed up in it or being frozen into inaction.
It’s part of healing. Stepping out of the shadows and into the sun, gently. And growling when you need to.
Another part of this Ahimsa thing is asking for help when you need it.
Otherwise, you just keep smacking your head against the same wall, over & over. Not gentle, really.
You guys? I need a bit of help. You see the cover for Light Up Your Life? Some clever catch phrase is supposed to go in that pink circle, but I kind of need help with what, exactly.
Here’s the premise behind the course:
In order to Light Up Your Life, you will follow the course of a day: dusk, darkness, dawn and then, eventually, full bright daylight.
Wondering why we start with dusk?
Well, you can’t bring light to something unless you’ve cleared whatever might be blocking or obscuring the light.
If we were children, fresh-born, we’d be able to start at dawn. But we aren’t. If you are old enough to be reading this, you’ve lived a bit.
You have history, life experience.
Probably a bit of baggage, some sadness.
So we are going to start by gently examining our lives, deciding where we most want to shed light.
Then, we will decide what needs to end or change, and start doing that. This is the dusking phase. The physical yoga will be fairly gentle in this phase, as befits the end of a long day.
In darkness, we will do any grieving that needs to be done, and start to gestate a new way of being. We will do yoga, of course. And also eat midnight snacks, if the mood takes us (there will be recipes).
At dawn, we will bring forth the new light. And eat breakfast. More recipes. Please eat AFTER you do yoga…
And in daylight, we will establish this new way of being as our normal, with practices to support us.
This structure allows for the physical yoga practice to follow a logical progression from simpler postures and sequences to more challenging ones. Dusk’s yoga is fairly soft, getting stronger at night to give you the courage to deal with the darkness, reaching its apex at dawn as you celebrate the sun, and then tapering off in the daylight because it’s too hot then to do very strong exercise.
Back to that pink circle. Any ideas about what it should say? Pleeeeease help! I am offering bribes. Email me, or leave a comment on the blog or Facebook. The suggestion I love the most wins its owner a free place on the course (there’s video and audio, and the book, and it’s all very exciting. But sssshhhh, it’s a secret…)
This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who gave their excellent suggestions! I went with the simplest: leave the pink dot there, empty. Why didn’t I think of that?