Thursday, January 14, 2010

Accepting Limitations to Find Freedom

This was the theme Rolf assigned for the final classes of our final weekend of teacher training. I have been thinking about this theme since he assigned it in September and I have discussed it with many people. You can get a range of reactions on the topic depending on who you talk to. It has been so forward in my thoughts that I keep connecting it to everything. I need to write.

Rolf assigned the theme as it related to the Yamas, the 5 moral restraints referred to in Patanjalis Yoga Sutra. The yamas are; non-violence, non-stealing, truthfulness, moderation, non-possessiveness. Patanjali prescribes these restraints as the first step on his suggested road to freedom through the 8 fold path of yoga. When we accept these restraints, we find a framework we can live within. We find that we are freed from fear and worry and doubt. As Rolf suggested - we can find freedom.

In my own experience moderation (brahmacharya) has been one of the most difficult of the yamas to live by. I have normally preferred a lot of what ever it is I am enjoying! Since I stopped drinking, food has been among my favorite indulgences. Now the doctor says my cholesterol is high and i should lose a little weight, so I have to work on restraining a bit. Another area is my love of coffee, most particularly, expensive Starbucks coffee. I am almost fully decaf so it's not about the caffeine, but just the luxury of a great latte.

But I recognize the freedom that moderation brings. I can feel that freedom when I am not over-indulging in food (as an example.) My yoga practice feels light and lively, my clothes look and feel good, I have a kick in my step. It's not that I am vastly overweight, (just a bit!) but I am in touch enough with my body now - and not very numb - and I can notice the small differences.

I just don't seem to notice them going the other way as quickly.

Long breath in, long breath out.
Victory to our spirits, . . .

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