Yoga Suits Her
Photo by: Julie Slavin Photography, Old Bar
Here is the Hindu God, Ganesha, still sporting the beanie he wore at Christmas. His post is at the entrance to the Yoga Shed at Mitchells Island. He signals a friendly welcome to all students. As you can see, Ganesha has mastered the art of relaxation. He has the look of someone who has transcended the need to do physical yoga postures, or any exercise at all.
In his role as the harbinger of new beginnings, I can imagine that Ganesha is also welcoming us into the New Year. By all accounts, many of us are pinning our hopes on a simpler, more certain, healthier, less restricted new year. Ganesha can help with this too, as he is known to be the remover of obstacles. We can invoke help from this deity in eliciting inventiveness and creativity in squaring off with uncertain times.
By extension, we could probably adopt Ganesha as the Muse for our New Year’s resolutions. If, for instance, we are planning on beginning a year of regular yoga practice, healthy eating or being kinder to ourselves and others.
If you are a student of yoga philosophy, the first of January equals the ‘now’ part of Patanjali’s first sutra, “Atha Yoga-Anusasanam”. The word ‘atha’ announces, ‘Now. Let’s get down to business – let’s begin.’
The truth is that every moment is a fresh start. A new opportunity to share your goodwill. To cultivate loving kindness. To stop by the roadside and admire a sunset. To ring a friend who you’ve been thinking about. To finally get the good china out just for you. To learn some circus skills. To read ‘Lord of the Rings’ (again). To walk on the beach in the rain. Or sun. Or wind. To be a little less fearless.
I wish you happy beginnings, Ganesha’s blessings, on whatever you choose to make of this precious day and year!
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The Previous 3 Posts
Next year marks the 50th year that I’ve been practising yoga.
Sometimes when I say that to students in class, I’ll add: This is how someone turns out after doing this much practice.
It’s one of my weak jokes. I mean to say, I’m pretty healthy but I’m not a total paragon of health and fitness. I’m a seventy six year old with a collection of old injuries and medical conditions, and some of the infirmities of ageing.
The good thing about staying with yoga all these years is that those injuries, conditions and ageing have taught me how to adapt. They’ve all been teachers, shaping my approach to yoga, and even my attitude towards life. Yoga is an amazing discipline for helping you get in touch with yourself if you are willing to learn.
Time doesn’t quite fly always. Sometimes it does. Sometimes it plods. I know it’s forty years of teaching yoga because I can add up the students I’ve taught along the way. It’s a lot!
This is one of my favourite techniques for gaining perspective when I am confused or conflicted. Imagine climbing a ladder to get a view of the forest, rather than just focussing on this tree right in front of you. From your expanded view, you can see horizons and in all directions.
Consider the billions of people on the planet that are doing it much harder than we are. As well as the past and future generations who are likely to face greater hardships than we have or will.
I know, I know. Yoga teachers all want to teach remotely. I’ve been no exception. Here are some video and audio productions that I’ve made. Not many – it’s something that I alway mean to get around to.
No, I’m not selling yoga mats or clothing. I don’t even have a t-shirt… yet. But from time to time I find myself with something that someone may want. Have a look, I’m never sure what you’ll find.