A New Year Begins

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There’s nothing like spending Christmas in the Philippines. I have enjoyed it immensely! It’s incredibly beautiful and festive and heart-warming. There’s a lot of everything: church-going, eating, parties, gift-giving, more eating. Really, merry making in over drive, if there ever was one.

The spirit of giving, taken to its extremes, however, can be tiring, no matter how nourished the heart is from all the loving exchanges between friends and family. Often, daily practice suffers. Late nights, late meals and get togethers keep one from getting a full, deep, regular practice going during this time of year.

I have tried in the past to forego festivities for practice. And have managed to be in India on several occassions, enjoying not being drawn away from the regularity of my sadhana. But something is lost in this, too. When we sacrifice our relationships, for practice, we miss the point in having a balanced human life. Our sadhana has to also extend to the greater field of our lives, there must be space and time to be with our people.

Coming home this year, I have been easier than other years, allowing myself to be pulled away from the steadiness of a regular routine in order to be with family and friends, which is my main purpose of being here.

Now it’s January 1 and Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities are behind us. And the question that comes up for me is: how do I now replenish myself after this period where so much energy and time has been beautifully directed towards those I love. How do I now, at the start of year, return to the daily act of loving myself, refilling my personal stores so that I may continue to teach and to be loving towards all my relations?

What better way is there to recommit to ourselves than getting on the mat, returning to our sadhana, the space in which we are closest to who we are, where we are most real, where we are most vulnerable, where we are closest to Source, not just the source of ourselves but the source of Everything?

If you’ve been pulled away from practice during this time, don’t stress. It’s ok. Instead, just get back on the mat, return to the breath, remember who you are by giving time, once again, to yourself.

Perhaps this is as steady as life gets, being pulled away from our center, and then, with effort, coming back. Perhaps, for us Householders, this vacillation between the two, the world outside and the world within, is as close as we get to the Middle Path.

If you’re in Manila and you feel like you could use some support getting back into the swing of your personal practice, I’ll be teaching in Surya Fitness and Yoga for one week only, between January 4-9, 6:30-9am. This is the purpose of this teaching period: to help people ground back into practice, which then helps us grow and expand in our lives. It’s not an easy time to get people back on the mat, but I think it’s a crucial time where we can set the positive intention of yoga and bring it to life in practice.

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