Thursday, June 7, 2007

Mother-daughter yoga

DD and I have been taking yoga classes together at this lovely place for the past several weeks. I've practiced yoga off and on for ten years; she just started, first at home with my yoga practice tapes.

While our classes have been good, last night's was OUTSTANDING! It was a much smaller class with a different teacher, and I knew it was going to be good when he started by first poking the small of my back, then hers, to see how alike or different they were! (Different at the beginning, alike by the end, as she learned about proper alignment.)

The teacher was so attentive and provided just the right amount of challenge. By the end of class, my whole body felt like it had been stretched, straightened, and strengthened. WOW! We walked in feeling tired and like we probably wouldn't have come if we weren't doing it together. We walked out feeling energized and inspired!

I'm so glad we can share this experience. Recently T and I discussed the fact that, because our spiritual practice is meditative in nature, it's not exactly easy to pass along to the kids. I like yoga because it is physically, intellectually, and spiritually challenging.

For me, spiritual practice is about mindfulness, or presence, the ability to be fully present with your body, heart, and mind. Yoga is great because the practice, if done with attention, REQUIRES such mindfulness.

Of course, Toni Packer and many other spiritual teachers say that such presence is always accessible.

She says: Awareness, enlightenment, wholeness--whatever words one may pick to label what cannot be caught in words--is not the effect of a cause. Activity does not destroy it and sitting does not create it. It isn't a product of anything--no technique, posture, activity, or nonactivity can create it. It is there, uncreated, freely functioning in wisdom and love, when self-centered conditioning is clearly revealed in all its grossness and subtleness and defused in the light of understanding.

For those of us who need a little more revealing of our self-centered conditioning, though, yoga can be a great path, and I find that the more I practice mindfulness, through yoga, sitting, and regular life whenever possible, the easier it is to get to that state of awareness.

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