We’ve had a busier than normal last few days around our house with visits from friends in the mornings that have thrown us off schedule and forced us out of bed earlier than normal. Thus, I am even more sleep deprived than usual, so I will try to keep this on topic today and coherent.
I’ve been trying to be a little more appreciative of my family of late. In starting my meditations I am trying to turn inward, but find myself turning into the ones closest to me and finding love in the little things. You may remember that my older son is looking forward to turning 5 so that he can run with me instead of going for rides in the stroller. Well, yesterday I broke down that barrier and let him run with me at the beginning and the end of my run. I did it for three reasons. First, he definitely needed to burn off some extra energy and what better way than to cultivate a love for running and exercise? Second, I wanted to go for a run, but couldn’t convince him to get out the door and ride in the stroller while I pushed him and his brother around for 2 miles. And finally, because I realized that I’m not officially training for anything right now, so what would it matter if part of my run time was dedicated to helping him out with starting his? Not a thing would matter at all! *Quick plug here….check out his awesome times on my MapMyRun page. He really impressed me!*
I am also trying to work toward weaning my little one a little more. I’m not trying to force him off of breast milk at this point, but trying to teach him that maybe he could drink milk from a cup be it breast or cow, doesn’t matter to me. Additionally, he is not sleeping all the way through the night anymore and often asks by signing and saying “milk” until he starts pinching me and I give in. There have been nights where he peed through his “12 hour diaper” because he nursed in the middle of the night and I changed him in the dark only to find that I left the wet diaper on the floor when I go to get him dressed the next morning. Having gotten up with him almost every night for the last 14 months I often find myself grumpy in the morning. I’ve never been a morning person, but when you wake up with kids in your bed and your breast hanging out because you fell asleep while nursing, you know that there’s no way the day is off to a good start. This morning I just flat out told my older son, “NO” when he tried to get in the bed with me while I was nursing the little guy at 630am. He cried and then we all had to get up because there was no going back to sleep after that. So, today has not been our best day yet.
The meditation topic yesterday was not really a topic at all, but a brief description of the 8 Limb Path of Raja yoga. I am getting ready to teach this as part of the academic yoga class I am teaching this fall, so it always kind of sparks my intellectual brain when I read about others’ “interpretations” of this topic. Thus, I left the reading with thoughts and didn’t feel like I could really meditate yesterday. I practiced, instead, some warrior poses (part of the third limb – Asanas) to build upon the strength that I felt I was lacking yesterday.
So, the book talks about the first four limbs as “spirituality in action.” p. 5 And likens (as most teachers do) the first two limbs, Yamas and Niyamas, to the Ten Commandments. This bothers me for two reasons. The first is that yoga teachers often talk about spirituality, but the definition of spirituality is: the quality or state of being concerned with religion or religious matters : the quality or state of being spiritual. That makes me think that yoga should be defined more as a religion, but yet, people who claim association to many other religions still practice yoga. The second problem I have with this comparison is that it is always referenced to Christianity. Let me quickly interject that I have no problem with Christianity, nor to I object to any religion that brings someone peace and clarity while avoiding the harm of others. But,are there not other religions that have a spiritual path or set of rules or guidelines to live by? I also have a problem with the words rules and guidelines as I feel like one is strict and the other is lax. Which is it?
Gates then states that we must “remain open to our own spiritual potential and be willing to take action on our own behalf.” p.5 This makes me feel very alone in my search for the divine or the answers I seek. Again, are they all really inside of me? Is there nothing bigger than me? I struggle with that thought because I have been using the mantra during my yoga practice that I am bigger than these thoughts, these feelings, these emotions and feeling like “I” am bigger because “I” am a part of something bigger. Not that I am on my own. Yoga is supposed to be about unity.
At the end of the reading he welcomes me on this adventure from darkness to light and I again question this path I am taking. Am I really in the dark? Was I in the dark before yoga? Was I in the dark before I read this book for the first time? The Benjamin Lorr book also talks about Patanjali’s attempt to unite and organize the many different practices of yoga at the time by creating this 8 limb path and basing it on influences from Buddha’s EightFold Path. As I move forward I will be in question of a lot of things, but mostly as to if I can stay directly on the path this time.