Sprinter

 

The other day on Facebook I read a post that said New England is now experiencing a new season called Sprinter.  Ugh, as I write this on April 19th there is snow and freezing rain falling outside my window.  Sprinter is not about running a short but fast race, it is winter conditions even though the calendar says we are technically in springtime.

Sprinter, makes my mind start to churn, and churn, and churn. Last month in my yoga class we talked about cultivating the opposite to calm your churning mind.  Students asked why and how do they cultivate the opposite.  Sprinter gives us the opportunity to practice cultivating the opposite.

Before you can cultivate the opposite you must identify what you are feeling in the first place.  So how does hearing the word sprinter  or looking out the window on April 19th and seeing snow make YOU feel?  Not your spouse, kids, friends or coworkers but you what are you feeling right now? Sit with that for a moment, experience and identify the feeling and emotion that arises.

If you are a skier you might be joyful, ski season is extended for you! Your mind is not churning.  If you are like me and want to work in your garden or get outside for walks and to enjoy sunshine and warm weather the feeling might not be so joyful.  Your mind might be churning.  Now sit with the churning, feel it, recognize the emotion and name it.  Until you name it you can not cultivate the opposite.  Once you name it and recognize it you can begin to cultivate or contemplate the opposite.

That opposite is also very individualized.  Lets look at some examples, sprinter might make you feel sad, angry, frustrated or worried just to name a few.  Now you have to decide what is the opposite for YOU.  The opposite of sad could be happy, blissful, joy, contentment so many choices, that you must identify for yourself.

Once you have identified the opposite can you cultivate it?  How my students ask? To start to cultivate the opposite you can begin by contemplating the opposite.  How do you feel when you are happy or joyful? Focus on that feeling, bring that opposite emotion to the forefront of your thoughts and choose to feel that instead of letting your negative emotions set your mind a churning.  You may even have to fake it till you make it a few times, but each time you choose to cultivate the opposite you are training your mind so that it is not always churning and leading you into negative thoughts and emotions.  You are training your mind to let yourself choose how you want to feel! Don’t let sprinter get you down, after all spring temperatures will eventually arrive, now how does that make you feel?

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Signs of Spring

Friday strolling down my driveway after a morning walk I noticed that all of the snow had melted around the base of one of the trees in my front garden.  There just poking up from the ground were the tips of daffodils rising up from their long winter sleep.  Letting out a whoop of joy my mood lifted instantaneously.  Seeing this tiny first sign of spring brought me so much joy.

Fast forward to Saturday morning waking up to snow showers coming down from a cold, steely grey sky.  Oh the depths a mood so easily lifted can just as easily crash down.  This brought me up short and made me think “is my yogic state so shallow”?

Yoga says that your joy or happiness should not be dependent on what is happening on the outside, the burst of spring or return of winter, but is always there arising from within.  In Svaroopa® yoga we cultivate this yogic state in our practice and particularly with a guided awareness during Shavasana when the teacher guides you through a body scan so you can bring your awareness into your body to notice your state outside and inside.

You will often hear yogi’s refer to this yogic state as being detached, but that sounds like you don’t care.  What yoga is really saying is that this yogic state you’ve cultivated is not attached to or influenced by external events.  That you or I can be as joyful during the Saturday snow flurries as we are seeing the daffodils and other signs of spring.

It isn’t easy, it is a practice.  This is why we refer to it as cultivating a yogic state.  Some external events or people push you out of your yogic state more easily than others.  So I am giving myself a break here, it has been a long, cold, snowy winter and this time the snow pulled me down. I hope to better maintain that yogic state the next time.  Actually like everyone else I am hoping that was the last of the snow flurries for this winter that gives me all spring and summer to deepen my yogic state!