2017 has been one very interesting year of my life.
November 2016 I embarked upon the daily journey of Ashtanga. I knew it will take me to my darkest sides and teach me lessons,but I didn’t think it will all happen so fast. First one and a half month has been all happy and shiny. I loved the feeling in my body. I loved the deep sense of peace after savasana. I would go to bed excited that it is yoga time in the early morning. I would wake up at 5:30 AM and get on my mat by 6 – 6:15 AM. Do full primary series before the day even started.
Things went pretty smoothly in the beginning as I have already been practicing various styles of yoga and occasionally ashtanga (more or less traditional) for a couple of years. However when you start dedicating yourself to one method – one teacher, amazing things start to unfold. As you drop your ego and come on your mat every day with humility and the intention to see your true self, you move forward and you set the foundation for a more peaceful every day life.
I was familiar with most of the postures in the primary series. And I could do most of them more or less. But when you practice in the traditional manner every single day, same things every day – you go over and over again to the same mind patterns, feelings, sensations or thoughts and just like magic, after you hit your head against the wall over and over again, you can suddenly see the limitations you set for yourself in all of their glory. It’s like your eyes have been covered by a deep fog and all of a sudden the fog is lifted. And you ask yourself: “How is it possible that I have never seen that before? It was all the time there.”
Has it ever happened to you that your were given a lesson over and over again, but you still didn’t learn anything? Instead you were maybe saying “Why is this always happening to me?” Well guess what…it’s not that all the bad things happen to you. On one side it’s your mind patters that generated similar experiences over and over again, until you become aware of them and start putting the work to change them (meditation is the key to see that). On the other side you attract what you think. You will keep attracting that until your thoughts are going to change. And when your thoughts change, your life changes.
No, it is not magic nor is naivete, it is all very hard work through daily consistent practice and dedication. Until it is not hard, you are not truly dedicated. You are in your beginner mind that only chases the good feeling and when obstacles arise, you put your hobby on the shelf and you find a new distraction that can make forget how miserable you feel inside.
So you need to break the pattern for something new and better to arise.
Be strong enough to rise above your own thoughts and work through dedication to see your true self.
December 2016 – the journey of drop backs and deeper backbends started. I encountered my first obstacle with lifting up from Urdhva dhanurasana (wheel pose) to standing. I was left alone to discover how to do it. And frustration came up. I felt it’s impossible to do it and that it is going to take a very long time until I will become strong enough to come up to standing from a backbend. It felt way too advanced for me. But then very soon, one day as I was sweating trying to lift up, feeling how gravity pulls me down, feeling stuck and heavy, I hear a voice “Lavinia, be stronger and believe in yourself.” It was Kino’s voice. And without even realizing, for the first time ever I came up all by myself. Amazing!
This gave me so much faith and enthusiasm. I couldn’t believe it.
I would be so excited for the next practice just to try it again.
Then December holidays came and all of a sudden I entered a phase that lasted for almost the entire year. I felt stuck. Unmotivated. Frustrated. I didn’t know why I was feeling this. Everything seemed to be so good on the surface. And it was. But something inside me was bubbling for such a long time. And it was all coming up to the surface.
Without the wish to practice on some days. The enthusiasm was somehow gone (but still there, I could feel it). My mind patterns became more clear. The pain of losing my dad would come up on the surface. The pain was still there. The feeling of being alone, misunderstood by the world and completely abandoned. Questions like “Why doesn’t it feel good anymore?” popped up in my head. Wanting to feel good but the more I forced it and fought with myself, the worse it felt…
But I kept going as I had faith in the method of yoga and my teacher. I kept going despite all the negative voices in my head and all the feelings that didn’t feel good.
I decided I want to be strong enough to rise above them.
Without even knowing I was touching glimpses of meditation.
2017 – is the year I lost the entertainment of yoga for something way better: the real yoga of transformation, awareness and meditation.
Just like everything that is meaningful, transformation happens through chaos. There must be chaos first before we can see the light.
In the silence of the Mysore room I could suddenly see and hear better than ever before as for the first time ever I took responsibility for my own life.
2017 was a difficult year. A very difficult one…But a truly amazing year.
I would fight with myself over and over again. And I could feel it does not feel right, but I just didn’t know how to change it. How to make it better? No matter what others tell you, you have to become ready to let go of something that doesn’t serve you any good. I had to become ready to truly see things as they are and then let go of my expectations and wish to make things better or different in order for something new to start.
By the end of the year, this October something new started. The moment I let go of all of that, it made space for another chapter to start.
All of a sudden I could feel how a heavy stone was lifted from my chest. And I could see clearer.
Going deeper into the second series with new backbend postures started to reveal joy and stability in my body and mind. Sometimes I would start smiling while doing my practice. Other times I would realize how serious my face would looks like and then smile again.
I do not want to take myself so seriously anymore. Instead I just want to do my best, let go of my expectations, and then repeat again. I think this is a much more healthier approach to practice and life.
I entered a new chapter. A chapter where practice starts to feel like coming home. When I let go a little more of my expectations on how things should be like, feel like I start to enjoy the ride just as it is.
Some of the important lessons learned on my mat in 2017:
Working with frustration and boredom has thought me what it truly means to be dedicated and committed.
Strength is about doing what you are supposed to do despite any thoughts that could find endless excuses.
Building the foundation towards living more in the NOW instead of worrying about the future and letting the past hunt you.
Staying focused and committed towards seeing the higher purpose not the temporary obstacles.
Learning more about balance every day through self-disicpline.
Taking initiative for a meaningful life compared to living in a lethargic mode without knowing and complaining for what goes wrong.
Remaining open, honest and friendly despite that this might scare some people off.
If you stop working with yourself, you become prisoner of your own mind patterns.
Change is the only way. It will happen even if you hold on everything else not to happen. Change is life 🙂 Change is beautiful.
Making peace with the fact that not everyone is ready to know themselves.
There are few people that are truly evil, most people are just unconscious of their own thoughts and behaviors.
Few people know what true love means. If you find them be grateful as they are not to be found everywhere. Most people are just terribly attached while pretending they know what love is.
The secret to never getting old is about constantly working with yourself, being aware of your thoughts and patters, getting rid of the victim we all have inside us and instead taking responsibility for our own life and actions(you take or don’t take). For that to happen, meditation is a mandatory habit to implement in to our daily life.
Give your best even though not many will see or appreciate. Give with your heart, but don’t let yourself abused. Karma does exist, don’t worry about what others do, just be a good person yourself. All the rest will follow.
Wanting without putting the work is for amateurs only. True discipline is effortless when your mind is constantly trained to be stronger every day.
True strength is kindness.
From my heart to yours,
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© Unfold Your Mat 2017
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