I'm having a genuine 'yoga slump' right now. For a week, I've been excited about this weekend. My girlfriend is away and I had this vision of long, lazy yoga practices. None of that has come to pass (I've been doing my practice each day, but reluctantly), but I'm doing a lot of thinking, re-evaluating.
Here's a thought: I spend way too much time on the computer. Yesterday, I cast a critical eye to my RSS feeds and purged, purged, purged. I whittled my list down to a manageable size and I'm going to keep it that way. My goal is to spend no more than a half-hour daily reading feeds. Don't get me wrong - I love reading blogs, but the Internet was beginning to swallow my life.
Since returning to daily meditation, I've started examining other areas of my spiritual practice. I've been dedicating time before bed to reading spiritual writings (right now, I'm re-reading Easwaran's translation of the Upanishads). This has been amazing actually. I want to re-read the Gita next (I usually read the Gita once a year anyway).
A part of my spiritual practice is serving others. My teaching gives me opportunities to put others first, but I still found this area lacking.
To be honest, I've really missed doing my volunteer work. Some of my long-time readers will remember that I used to volunteer regularly at a soup kitchen downtown. My schedule shifted in the spring and it was no longer possible for me to go to the Thursday morning breakfast programme. But a new meal was added on Friday evenings and that's one of my nights off! Happily, some of my favourite people from the Wednesday dinner are working at this one!
I volunteered at the dinner last night. It was so much fun to go back and see old friends. I love this programme because we make no demands of our guests. They don't have to sing songs or listen to sermons to get their meal (and the food is *amazing*). They truly are our 'guests' - we treat each person who comes in as if they were a visitor in our home.
It was fabulous and I'm definitely going to make time for this each week from now on.
Finally, I've been searching for a spiritual community to be a part of. For a while, I was going to Quaker Meetings. The Friends are very welcoming to all comers and since the Meetings are essentially a one-hour meditation, it was working for me. I'm not sure why I stopped going. I guess since Sunday is my only day off, I was feeling over-scheduled.
I signed up for a mailing list for followers of the meditation method I use, but never heard back. This was a disappointment. The thing I like about Easwaran's 8-point programme is that it's comprehensive - it's not *just* about meditation.
Last night, I attended a local women's meditation group that meets monthly. It was an interesting experience (which I will probably deconstruct in hilarious detail in my private blog). Suffice to say, many things surprised me. The fact that we were meditating in chairs surprised me (I didn't - I sat on the floor, but most people were in chairs). The fact that the leader of this group questioned my meditation practice surprised me (Specifically, she questioned the method I use to meditate).
I was polite, but in the back of my mind, I was all 'Dude, seriously?'
I mean, c'mon...we're sitting silently with our eyes closed for 30 minutes. Does it REALLY matter what method I use to still my mind?
To be fair, she may have just been trying to make sure that I understood meditation and felt comfortable. But I got a strong 'do-it-my-way' vibe which automatically triggered my 'fuck-you' reflex.
So, that was that. I'll probably go to the November session, just to feel it out a bit more.
Today's yoga practice came after a period of earnest procrastination that involved doing dishes, sweeping the floor and cleaning up my desk. Finally, I settled down on my mat to do 5 Surya Namaskara A's and then a YogaDownload practice, Heart Opening Flow #1, 20 min, with Jackie (this is another one of the *free* classes; yes, this means you can download free of charge).
I've done longer versions of this one, so I already knew that I liked it. I skipped Ustrasana, though. Backbends are not my friend this week.
Maybe there will be some Astanga tomorrow. Maybe.