Wherever you are as you read this message, can you do me a favor? Can you close your eyes at your computer, your breakfast nook, or your couch and take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth?
Before we decided on our move to Providence, I had to take several breaths like this. I needed to create moments of stillness and quiet to create calm. In many of the conversations that we’ve had since that letter went out last Friday, I’ve been asked, “How do you make a decision that big?”
For me, the answer is meditation.
When Brown offered Eugene this wonderful opportunity, I knew in my heart it was what he wanted and what was next for us. But, my mind went CRAZY. And, I was ready to argue against the move. Remember the times we’ve talking about that figurative monkey clashing his symbols around in our heads? Yes, well, I had like 100 of them in there shaking maracas and tambourines, too. When our mind is constantly racing, we can think of that as the “monkey mind,” known as citta vritti. I'm assuming you've had moments where you can’t turn your brain off, too.
My mind raced and fill with all the things I love about living here and my role here in Lewisburg - our relationships, our babe’s caregivers, our home, our coffee spot, our studio, my work, the easy strolls downtown. How could we give that up for the unknown? My brain was a constant loop of what we might leave behind, and then started to assume what might take place on the move, but who can make a decision when emotion is so heightened? I can’t.
Because I’m a student of yoga, I know that I have the tools to deal with a big decision like this. I have the tools to listen to what my heart and soul want, rather to only live with the logic in my head. I know that in order to make decisions, I actually need to get quiet, find silence and stillness, and listen to what comes up.
Patanjali writes, “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.”
Pause and read that again. Downward dogs aren’t yoga. Flying lizards aren’t yoga. Splits aren’t yoga. Yoga is learning to cease the incessant chatter of your monkey mind. Why? So that you can listen. When you learn to sit still and just breathe or listen to a soothing piece of music, you are calming down all the emotions attached to fear in your head and can make more space for love and for possibility. When you meditate, you learn what you actually value and you learn that whatever is in your head often projects into your reality.
Every morning, I have a 20 minute meditation practice to start my day. I’m not saying you need 20 minutes, but if you’re grappling with a big decision or are struggling to define whatever it is that you want, I hope you’ll try this. Get up 10 minutes earlier. Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit. Set a timer and focus on your breath for five minutes. That’s it. Simply notice how your day is changed. Do it over a few days and notice how it makes you feel. Notice if you start to pay attention to the pull of your heart rather than the logic in your head. This is yoga. This is the gift.
Thank you for the messages and warmth about our move to a new place, and your excitement about what that means for Yoga Dear. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please read this letter here. I’m so blessed to know and to serve you.
P.S. If these letters have helped you or supported you in some way, will you take 2-3 minutes to leave a Google Review? Yoga Dear is moving into the online world (as well as the studio space), and I’d love to share these written teachings with as many as possible. Your review will let other yoga students know that they will benefit from these letters even if they are not near the actual studio. Thank you so much for your time. I promise to respond to each and every review!