Here I am MCing for KAN-WIN, my fave women's advocacy group. I am honored to annually host their fund raiser. This was back in October. It's now December - where did the time go?!
Life keeps flowing, how am I engaging with it? I have so much online work to do. So many yoga classes to teach. And I compulsively organize events. Dinners with friends, benefit rock shows, MedMobs, producing a play for my theater company, A-Squared Theatre Workshop for next May, and more and more and more.
I create a world wind of activity. I grew up in chaos and am used to frenetic energy. I use this compulsion of activity for the powers of good, or I try to. Somedays I let my activities come before my meditation practice, which is not right.
In order for me to stay grounded to MC events, organize events, and perform at events, I need to create a grand stand of an event inside my soul. I need to sit quietly, make time for my inner self and go inwards. This is how I can engage with the flowing and going outside world, by grounding my internal world. Ready? Set? Go...inwards! Let the world flow and go! I'm ready.
Ah, ginger tea. Soup. Lots and lots of tissue. Crying. There's something in me that loves being sick. Clearly, my body needs to rest. It's a gorgeous day today & I was supposed to go to the beach. But, I'm drinking tea, trying keep my energy inwards. I have enough energy to type this, water the garden, clean the litter box, then take care of myself. A bath? Perhaps. Watching a movie from the bath? Even better. And, of course, I have plenty of energy to sit and meditate. I know no other way to make me feel better...ah, thank you for slowing me down, cold!
Here is Eastern State Penitentiary, in my hometown, Philly. Every cell in this prison was a solitary confinement. Each prisoner had their own teeny backyard and a little slit to allow a sliver of sunlight, but never saw or touched another person their entire sentence. Yikes!
Talk about fear. This kind of solitary confinement frightens me because I am such such such a social creature. The thought of solitary confinement and not speaking to another person for years scares me, but if I were confined, I might be able to fall into the grace of silence and embrace its gifts through meditation.
My cat has massive oral action right now, two teeth removed and an abscessed lip. I was scared to take him to the vet because I didn't want him to be sicker than he actually is. I feared loosing this 13 year old chubby kitty of mine after so much time together. The night I had to leave him at the vet, I almost wept, feeling guilty about letting him get so sick and imaging my home with out him. I mediated that night and the fear and guilt slipped into acceptance and appreciation for knowing this furball. (Kitty's fine, still fat, now on antibiotics.)
I also fear the raw power of true spirit. You know how freaky it is to glimpse of your absolute true potential? If you've seen this part of you, you may have been frightened to the bone. I am. To *really* grow into my fullest shining is frikking scary. Today, I thought about turning the fear into anticipation...anticipation for the greatest transformation and change. I gotta turn that fear around180 degrees in order to allow myself to truly follow my dharma and fulfill my highest goals. My fear comes partially from conditioning, partially from low self confidence and feeling like I don't deserve to be my fullest. These are *deeeep* seated fears. I'm gonna killit with a skillet and turn that frown unpaid down.
Fear can be a great, protective energy. Right now, it's not serving me and the best way to combat this tamasic (lethargic) fear, is to do the most radical thing I can think of: sit on my meditation cushion and embrace it. See ya on the flip side, glowing and growing.
Kundalini ParaYoga training at Prana Del Mar in Mexico
Every yoga person eventually talks about practice. "We need to practice every day." "It doesn't matter how much you practice as long as you practice consistently." "The Yoga Sutras say to practice regularly, it's called abhyasa."
Well, they're right. We do need to practice yoga every day and I frustrate myself about this. I put pressure on myself to practice enough every day and this means all kinds of yoga. Not just the poses, but pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, jnana (mental, academic), etc.
I continually struggle with balancing between feeling like I'm practicing "enough" with practicing consistently. As a yoga teacher, especially in the ParaYoga lineage, meditation is an anchor of what I need to practice. And when I don't meditate as long as I want to, I feel crunky and not smooth. So I have to sit longer. It's like there's no choice if I want to feel good inside and out...it's like going all day without brushing my teeth.
Absorbing a daily yoga practice is hard at first, but when I realize that connecting to god, to the best part of myself, to that which is beyond this material world, is the most important thing I can do, ot's more important than blogging, gardening, and talking to my loved ones on the phone. The greatest loved one is spirit and I need to talk to her every single day. We all do! Remember who you are! Talk to god, talk to the real you. Every day.
Sa Rak San mountain in South Korea, 2003
I'm currently blogging from King Spa Sauna in the burbs of Chicago. The ritual of bathing and purifying is an ancient right of passage for many cultures. Modern Korean bath houses are out of control. There's free Wifi (I'm bloggin'!), a 24 hour restaurant, 9 sauna igloos, a movie theater, a TV lounge, and all the hot tubs, filtered water to drink and matching uniforms you'd ever, ever want.
As a Korean yogini, I come here with reverence for the ritual of cleansing. In Korea, whole families bathe as a way to bond and as a way to clean off old, unlucky skin. Yogically, cleansing techniques are called shat kriyas. There are 6 major ways to cleanse the body and although I'm not going to swallow cloth to pull out of my bunghole any time soon, I follow some of these yoga cleansing techniques at the Korean bath house.
Korean and yoga cleansing techniques aren't far off! I cleansed my nasal cavity with a neti pot. Koreans love hocking loogees, right from the back of the throat. To treat my skin, I do an oil rub, abhyanga, before I enter the sauna to drive the oil into my skin. Koreans have aunties wearing black bras and panties scrubbing off every level of skin until you almost bleed.
So, I can easily feel culturally Korean while using Ayurvedic/yogic cleansing techniques, here. Bonus: the place is practically empty, so I can go upstairs to the meditation room and actually meditate. Go King Spa and yoga!
Mia Park is a ParaYoga teacher in Chicago, IL, specializing in teaching Basic Yoga for Advanced Misfits, as well as teaching people how to cut through the junk to shine on.