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Apology up front here dear readers, this post again will be discussing Ganesha like yesterday’s did however no statues will be tossed in a river. It seems like every time I have an extended period of one-on-one time with the elves a theme emerges. During the epic snow day rally we created, lived and breathed origami. Now as we reach the end of their Spring Break we have spent every day talking, listening to songs about or moving statues of Ganehsa. It started after I read a story about Ganesha and the cat on the Ganesh Mall blog. Then I was reading some books I have on the subject and we started listening to kirtan (chanting like my pal Elizabeth). My elves became obsessed with this elephant god in the same way I am: his story and image are magical.
One more day of Spring Break and I am ready to scream. My world is again filled with so much noise and auditory clutter that I can barely compose my blog posts, let alone do anything else I need to do. There are play dates (read: screaming with friends), there are battles, there is drama and there is talking. In short there is too much noise. My pratyahara loving self is going sort of nuts without the moments of silence. Do not read this wrong: I adore the elves in every way possible, I just love my quiet moments alone and require them for survival.I do not understand the concept of being unable to exist in moments of silence; how people can find this peace uncomfortable. I crave stillness and quiet, but perhaps that is because there are so many obstacles in my life on my path to find it. Tuesday after one of my classes a lovely student looked at me in awe when I said that my favorite way to practice yoga is without music. ”Really?” she said stunned, to which I reminded her that without music you can hear your breath and feel your body move. The distractions of noise are just too much for me sometimes, and on my mat I love to find a space where they do not exist.
After a battle of wills I managed to wrangle my elves into the car where they, despite the destination of the movie theater, began an epic argument. I reached into my bag, pulled out my iPod and started playing Elephant Power by MC Yogi, the elves’ current heavy rotation favorite. Instantly this wall of words was broken down and I was able to drive the 20 minutes to the theater in peace. We sang chants to Ganesha together and then had a much more mellow afternoon. Ganesha removed the obstacles that made my ears ring with drama and allowed me to find again some peace. I felt like the swimmer that was finally able to dive into the deep end and no longer hear the sounds of the people standing next to the pool. Deep quiet and restorative peace was present for 20 minutes today, thank heavens!
To MC Yogi I say THANKS for making my Spring break such a funkified one and for helping me share these stories with the elves.
To the other parents out there, the MC’s of their own groove crews I send a little bit of shhh and some Om gam ganapataye namaha!
You ever do something and then think to yourself, “that was totally nuts and maybe I should keep it a secret?” Well I had one of those moments today, but thankfully I have my blog to spill the beans to you my dear readers. I am looking at this post as a moment of satya and a way of reminding us all to listen to what is “best” for yourself rather than worrying what others might say.
I received this beautiful Ganehsa statue from a dear friend. However several months after I got it, I noticed that the end of the trunk was broken off and was missing. Now Ganesha’s trunk symbolizes viveka (discrimination) and often is thought to be of symbol of OM. My Ganehsa had a broken OM and that bothered me EVERY time I looked at it. I kept wondering if there was some bad juju that was connected to a damaged Ganesha statue, and this thought would not go away from my festering brain.
Today, I found several sources on-line saying that it was bad luck to keep a broken Ganesha in your house and that you needed to get rid of it in a respectful way. All sites said to wrap the statue in red cloth and release it (wishing it good luck on its journey) in a river or body of water. A hour later I grabbed that statue, wrapped it in a red piece of cloth along with some rice and chocolate for the journey and dropped it in a river by my house. The minute I let go I felt a mixture of relief (whew bad juju vamoosing) and insanity (did I really just drive to do this??).
Whether or not I just lost a cool statue or cleared my house of some bad luck omen I was listening at that moment to what I felt I needed to do. Practicing yoga in your own way is really no different. You need to pay attention to what works for you (what feels good in your body, your mind and your spirit) and make that part of your yoga whether someone else thinks it is poppy cock or not.
Several of my students come to my classes and those of another teacher. Both of us approach the mat from a place of safety and spirit, but we teach certain poses differently. The cues, the alignment and the sequencing might be completely at odds, but our intentions are really the same. My students who study with both of us understandably can be confused as to which “way” is correct. So I tell them to try everything they are offered and find the place that is right whether it fits with what either of us told them or not. Their practice, and all of ours, is to let go of the need to find the perfect way to do a pose and instead find a way to do the poses that are perfect for them.
In reality this message is no different whether you are talking yoga or tossing a Ganesha statue into a river. Both require you to look at what will make you feel at home, at ease and in a space where you are you. No practice or moment is perfection for everyone, but as yogis it is our job to find the path to the one that is right for us.
So sitting now writing with my satya and my story, I know that what I did in that moment was perfect for me. Watching that Ganesha packaged respectfully with sweets and blessings, floating along the river in his red wrapping was the right thing for me to do.
If listening to my truth makes me crazy, then crazy I am.
p.s. If you know whether or not this is true (bad luck and damaged statues) let me know…
I have been thinking all day about what it is that connects people through yoga. My new personal yoga page is up and running and while it is still in the skeleton/development stage I am getting lots of input. I asked some fellow yoga teachers about it (what it needed, what was missing, etc) and I got amazing suggestions. People showed me their passion for their practice and for what I was doing. I was stunned by and thankful for the folks whom I had never met and how much time they took to let me know what they thought.
Your practice is not limited by location but by intention. – Judith Hansen Lasater
Yoga connects across the world, the internet and across the room when you are practicing with a group. My students form this community with each other, my fellow tweeters are a tribe and yoga teachers speak each other’s language. We are all intertwined by this magical practice. Our intentions are to grow and breathe, to feel space and openness and to just exist in our bodies. In sharing this intention, even if it is slightly different for each person, we have a connection that is like family.
My youngest elf went to a birthday party today and those girls all became buddies within a few moments. Most did not know each other, and the few that did met new friends. They were connected through their love of sparkles and princesses and cake. Their intentions to have the best time ever removed all barriers to the new faces and it was like they had always been friends.
I feel the same way about the yogis I have met since developing my personal practice and becoming a teacher. Some are here with me at studios and gyms, some are in Europe and Australia, some are in the cyber sangha, most I have never met in real life. But I feel connected to them all and it is our yoga that links us.
So the next time you feel that pause in your practice, set your intention to connect with the yogis around you, on the next mat or the next town. Breathe with them and share the yoga. Be connected and be yoga.