I had an interesting epiphany today. It was fueled by an experience that a friend in yoga class. My good friend had her yoga experience in my class ruined by another student. It wasn’t anything that happened in the class. Her experience was fuelled by a emotional past interaction with this student. She saw him and a flood of emotions bubbled up and she was stressed out on her mat. She shared her feelings with me. It was here that the aha moment occurred to me. I, also, can be easily influenced by someone else’s experience. I have made decisions based on someone else’s experiences…not my own.
I spent a great deal of my life in negative self chat, negative self action and bad relationships. Swimming in negativity used to be a comfortable space for me. It is always easier to believe the bad stuff. One of the first positive experiences I remember was with my grade 5 teacher Mr. Ferguson who told my mom at a parent teacher interview that I was an above average student. That comment to my Mom made me try so very hard at school. It made me believe I could be great at something. Before that I don’t recall being very proud of myself academically.
Since I found the practice of yoga I have become uber aware of my thoughts and my actions. Today when I heard the story of my friends negative experience I felt sad. The person she described was not the person I met. The person I met was absolutely lovely, kind, on their spiritual path, and in no way reflected in my mind what she said about them. I found it possible to feel bad for my friend’s experience and happy to find my students experiencing personal growth through their yoga. Obviously the person they are now is not the person they were then. My question to you yogis is: can you let your experiences be simply your experience? Can you ignore the influence of others (media) and just be grateful for your experience? If you are on your mat and practicing can it be just about being on your mat and practicing? Could you ignore, your former friend, ex-husband or previous employer if you were in yoga class right next to you on the mat. Could you remember to breathe and be there in the moment ? Could you experience your yoga?
As much as we all practice, one thing that still seems to evade all of us is Pratyahara. The practice of having relieved ourselves of outside distractions, we can now deal with the distractions of the mind itself. We need yoga to help us withdraw into sensory transcendence. We need to make the conscious effort to draw our awareness away from what is going on in and outside of class and just be in the moment. Cultivating a detachment from our external experiences, we can direct our attention internally. The practice of pratyahara (withdrawl of the senses) provides us with an opportunity to step back and take a look at ourselves. Why do we let these things bother us. This withdrawal from what is going on around us allows us to grow objectively. Observe our own selves and grow exponentially. How will your experiences change your life? How can we truly let go and just be! These are the things I think about-musings from my mat!