There are few things that have recently dawned on me during this yoga process and if I’m honest, they are thoughts that have been rattling around my head for years and have been observed but perhaps not acted upon, therefore, it’s my goal to see the manifestation of these thoughts followed through with appropriate action. As B. K. S. Iyenger says ‘yoga is skilful action’, not just a meditation on self or navel gazing, which is a subtle action but my dedication to yoga for now will be dynamic action until the action of yoga itself becomes naturally more subtle. Therefore a reflective mind will lead to powerful action on the reflection.
This year, on top of all the impeding ‘other’ things that I was to get on with, I signed myself up to yoga teacher training with NRG Yoga on the Sunshine Coast. As a full time mother of toddlers and a partner of a swim coach who rather spontaneously signed a lease to run a dilapidated pool, I knew that this year was going to be huge. I also turned 40 this year. A monumental birthday in my books and one that I pinned 101 expectations on and, of course, it came up short by about 95% of them. So why have expectations at all? I now equate birthdays with vast disappointment, yet if I was to approach a birthday with an open mind and loving heart (as all good yogis should) I may actually enjoy this process of aging but then my habitual moaning and groaning post birth-day would have to die, my gut feeling would be a slow and resentful death as old habits tend to die hard. I would have to replace the negative banter with something positive and I’ve realised attachment to this dialogue although it goes nowhere and serves no good becomes a strong identifying crutch in moments of need. Sometimes giving into negativity, which now feels like an old ‘friend’, is easier than changing one’s mindset which from experience is an uncomfortable process. It ultimately leads to freedom though and is best in the long run but at the moment of truth sometimes it feels like a small amount of concerted effort in the short term is too much to do right now, after all there is too many other things ‘to do’. This is a narrowing of the mind and yoga is a gateway to broadening the mind.
“EXPECTATION CRIPPLES”, I see scrawled in my yoga journal, “disappointment prevails from unmet expectation and most expectation is unmet”. This is surely a step in the right direction to dispel expectations from my internal dialogue. How very wise, but it leads me back to my original question, if I know that expectations lead to disappointment why am I so plagued with them? Why do we do it to ourselves? Another insightful truth about myself has dawned on me. I have created an army of distractions to protect me from achieving what I need or feel is of importance to me. This is a bizarre thing to do, but I’m sure I’m not alone in doing it. I have the feeling it’s tied in with self-esteem and acts as dry fodder to the flame of negativity that burns the prana (life’s energy) of the spirit and mind. Through these distractions my expectation is again not met and I’m therefore left disappointed leading to more negativity and so the circle continues.
My brand-new intention for yoga teacher training then, is to get to grips with my distractions. There are a festering amount that I cultivate and nurture daily just like the worm farm out back that I feed our left-over scraps to. These disappointments at not achieving what I had hoped to seem to accumulate around my birthday, as yet another year slips by. These worms of distrust, if left to their own devices, will eat holes in my dilapidated mind, so just like the pool, it’s time for a re-vamp to bring in light, energy and a fresh beginning. I’ve prescribed myself a cure: positive mantras and meditation to take myself out of the norm of day to day life. This is needed to re-wire the internal chit-chat of the mind. Just by getting on the mat and showing up daily I will help myself take the path perhaps less trodden in general but surely is a super highway to freedom and I believe ultimately FREEDOM is our life’s goal. Through action will come the internal power that yoga can unleash.