Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Doubt gets in the way

I have been thinking a lot lately about doubt – both on and off the mat.  It is like a snake that just slithers along the edges, following me everywhere I go. Every few days or so it raises its head and hisses at me.  Just this past week, I had an intense moment of doubt on my mat after an extremely challenging practice.  It is a topic that seems to be following me around, rearing it's head in my practice and being brought up by both my yoga and meditation teachers.  So after it came up again today during my meditation session, I clearly realized that it won’t go away until it has taught me what I need to know.

Doubt is normal, right?  I know I am not the only one (somehow it makes me feel better just writing that)!  But doubt gets in the way.  It is an obstacle to our yoga practice, to our sadhana.  It is put there by the ultimate trickster, Ganesh, requiring that we consider what we need to get around it.  Doubt is like glasses over the eyes of our true self.  Intense doubt can merge with our awareness, so much so that we can’t remove it, we can't filter it out.  We can see through the clear glass but our awareness of our self is somehow altered. 
If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.  -- Pema Chödrön
I don’t want to wear these glasses.  I want to take them off.  I want to throw them away.  And I want to find that stillness of awareness that is inside.  Not so easy, I know.  But isn’t that why we do our practice?  My teacher, David Garrigues, talks about finding our real purpose in practice.   Finding that highest, most important thing, that thing that doesn’t require any specific technique (none even!).  That thing that doesn’t cause us to be excluded because we can’t do kapotasana.  What is that thing?  It’s ishvara pranidhana, devotion or a surrendering and bowing to the process. A relinquishment of our need to control. 

So hard, right?  Especially since, I am not one to give up control easily.  But isn’t it really a matter of trust?  Trust in myself, trust in my teachers, trust in the process.  And most of all, trust that with good technique as my foundation, I am completely safe.  Because, it is trust and safety that are the opposite of doubt.  I am learning that if I can center myself in that, then I will do my practice and as Guruji said, “All will come.” And at the very least, I won’t be inclined to quit along the way. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Street Dog Watch (& Free DG Download!)


I just returned from a month in Kovalam, India where my teacher, David Garrigues, holds his annual Mysore intensive. This year something unexpected happened - David and his partner, Joy, were adopted by a homeless dog and a tiny puppy. In trying to find a way to help these dogs they came across a bigger problem and an organization trying to help. Here is what they found: Watch David's video about Street Dog Watch

The situation for animals in Kovalam, as in much of India, is desperate. There are literally hundreds of starving and homeless dogs and puppies. Many tourists to Kovalam will adopt a few animals while they are there but tourist season is about to end and the monsoon season is about to begin. Many of these animals will not make it. Starvation and sickness will claim many of their precious lives. And perhaps just as tragic, there will be litters and litters of new puppies born to the same fate.

There is an amazing organization here called Street Dog Watch doing everything they can to protect these animals. Right now, they are working around the clock, sterilizing, vaccinating, rescuing and helping to adopt as many of the animals as they can. But they really need us. They do this all on a shoestring budget that is made up on in-kind donations and volunteers - both of which are coming to an end with the start of the deadliest season for these pups.

To help this Street Dog Watch, David has decided to offer a FREE DOWNLOAD from his vimeo on demand store to anyone who donates $50 to Street Dog Watch by March 6. That means if you donate $50 you can download for free: A guide of Primary Series, A guide of Ujjayi breathing, A guide to Second Series, OR A guide to Pranayama. Make a donation here. After you receive your email donation confirmation, forward the email to rene.jennifer@gmail.com to receive your promotional code for the free download.

I had the opportunity and honor to spend some time with the folks that have dedicated their lives to this amazing organization.  I hope you will join me in supporting them with any donation, no matter the amount, so that they can make their budget for this next year.  As we near 2016, we will also be collecting supplies to deliver to them for next year!  Let's make a difference!

OM Shanti!