The 5 Pillars of Our Being
Over the years of my eclectic nature, I have found there to be 5 pillars that need to be grounded by some sort of ritual or discipline in our lives in order to be healthy and happy. These are our :
- Physical Integrity
- Mental Integrity
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Energetic Integrity
- Dharmic Integrity
To make it super simple to combat the natural resistance to change , I began to incorporate yoga into my life almost two decades ago and in the last decade, it became a beautiful modality to complement both my personal work and the healing path for my clients. Who could resist getting all this love on the mat in an hour or so of my time. As I mature in the practice I can see that the real benefit is not on the mat per se but in my head and in how I filter the world.
As the core foundations of the busy, materialistic western world begin to crack at the seams, it becomes more and more apparent that not everyone can pack their bags for the Himalayan mountains or spend their days hitting the spiritual or science books like me. It becomes more and more clear that the research I used to begin forming an integrative tool is amazing. My play amongst the work highlights my gratitude for the ancient yogis solution to a long hard day of work without play.
In Order to be Whole you Need to Acknowledge You Were Never Broken
How we perceive joy verses pain is a very fine line based upon our understanding of the situation and our ability to cope with it. It also relies on how mature and discriminatory our sensory system is and how we intact with the connections we have ( consciousness) with our world. Who we are and our level of understanding of how safe we feel, how able we feel and how important we feel determines how hard our work feels to be. So Work is very important in two opposing ways. One, we need it for reflecting how we spend the breaths of our lives and two, we need it to form the base of Dharmic integrity within our world but it seems that my generation, and that of the next, have been so technologically savvy that we have figured out 101 ways not to work and still get things done. At the same time we have lost the sense of play in any work we force ourselves to do. We then force everyone to graduate university when many are unable to work in a way that allows them to engage in grown up play. How many are either not in the industry they studied or studied an industry they did not want to be in at the request of their parents or societal norms? So I play on my mat and I made the mat my work . I figured, "Where can I find the necessary balance of feeling my work as an expression of grown up play?" Now a decade down the road, I have playdates and teach others that as well.
The Mat Lets me Play.
When I am on my mat, I am given the permission to engage in quality play. It lets me develop my emotional intelligence while I fly into crow. It helps me to transition from arm strength to leg strength with grace and embody how I get from one moment to the next. I engage the struggle verses run away and get a dual lesson from joy and it's fraternal twin pain. This is why I teach it more like a dance, a symphony of pieces rather than an athletic series of structured game plays. You have all day at work for that and I want yoga to remain the place my students can connect with their spirit to surrender the armor and explore themselves a little deeper through play.
If you Tell me to Kick your Ass, You're Gonna Ruin the Game for both of us.
So Let's keep this my recess after lunch kind of play. Let's remain in the freedom and timeless moment "School's out for summer and this is my first step out the door" kind of feel. Let's acknowledge and accept the darkness and aim for the light. You better realize I may make you feel something deep but I am offering you the opportunity to FINALLY tell it "Goodbye" and I guarantee taking that load off your body will feel euphoric. That's the lead in the class play stepping out for her standing ovation kind of play but make no doubt, you need to accept the work.
The practice is real work but Sadhana makes it special. Sadhana is a spiritual discipline, a ritual you do to connect with something stronger than your attitude. Sometimes I do not feel like stopping what I am doing to go play but then, a few minutes in, I find myself at ease with the concept of working. Every posture becomes an offering beyond my current level of attachment to my pain. I learn to work in full gratitude of the moment I am sharing with my presence and before long, I am working because I want to. I want to because I love my teacher and feel his love and he tells me to "do the work because it has to be done". I find working this way a pleasure to offset the pain because the concept of work to my 2015 adult filtered eyes is otherwise synonymous with stress and I am so ready to do what ever work is necessary to get my ass on my mat and force myself to work in some other way. I play because Dharma-ji taught me to do the work this way and it is carrying over to my other work in profound ways. It is surely the fastest way I know how to "be like a child again" because somedays, this is the only place I give myself the permission.