Karma Yoga:: The achievement of union with the Supreme Universal Soul through action.
My dedicated practice to Yoga resembles that of my Life. I practice Yoga, wherever my nomadic soul ends up at the end of each day. I have about a stack of schedules from 10 gyms/Yoga studios in my glove compartment. And that defines Los Angeles. You can do & find just about anything here. Some people may critique Yoga, among other Eastern practices as a “trend”, as something not as authentic as it may be where it originated. But I see it as a bridge of the East to West. I am proud to say that California’s flower child, Liberal, flip flops/beach vibes welcomes new ideas and changes than most of our neighboring states. It’s not to say that California is responsible for bringing Eastern ideas to the States. But very welcoming and open.
Yoga for me is a way of meditation. A way to unwind daily. Jogging outdoors and hikes do it as well. But there’s something about being in 1 spot, a reach within the vicinity of your body. Yoga started for me as an exercise, then an addiction for the clarity I had when I walked out that room.
I went to Power Yoga, a donation based Yoga studio in Santa Monica, for the 2nd time since years ago last Friday at 4:30pm. The studio offers All levels, beginner, intermediate/advanced. And being donation based, exonerates this karma-cosmic energy to the studio. Before the Yoga class even started, I found this peace within myself. There was something about sitting on my mat, in that room, with these beautiful strangers around me that whispered inside me “this is exactly where I need to be. Right now.”
That feeling I find more on random moments while traveling. Certain nature scenes, certain individuals I meet, certain food I eat. But the usual day to day here in LA, the hustle and bustle of Business, traffic, time crunches, I rarely find that Zen. I felt amazing being able to feel that, at the busiest time of the week – outside that room on a Friday late afternoon – traffic & for some, happy hour.
The instructor came in and started the class a few minutes late. Nobody complained, we were all there not in a hurry to the next time slot on our blackberry agendas. Power Yoga, as insinuated in it’s name, is a more intense form of Yoga, typically 90 minutes using more physical strength and Vinyasa flows. You will definitely break out in a sweat and feel a core workout in that room temperature meets intense body heat (you’ll practically be stacked on top of one another in there). He turned up some more upbeat music while doing tougher poses which upped the energy level while still keeping, or attempting to keep, my meditation.
Now that I’ve practiced Yoga for a few years, learned to meditate my body, I am now focusing on the mind meditation part. It is probably the most difficult thing for me to do in life. To shut my mind completely and think of Nothing. For those that have read/seen “Eat, Pray, Love”, it’s the scene of her trying to meditate at the Ashram in India, and every thought pops up. It’s no joke. I tried the same in India 3 years ago, and checked out the next morning because I couldn’t meditate for more than 2 minutes. And the thought of being at a temple and perform Seva, meaning ‘selfless work’, and relax was a frightening thought to me. But for every time we fail, is one step closer to succeeding. And I know that perfecting meditation will perfect my life gradually.
So that is my next goal in Yoga:: clearing the mind 1 minute at a time, releasing all negative thoughts at minimum, even just for that 60-90 minutes I’m in that room. Checklist of 2011.
Power Yoga @ 2 locations: 1410 2nd St & 522 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica. Every 2 hours of the day.
From the Power Yoga website:
“Picture a web, with all its strands interconnected and sharing its burden. What’s happened to us is, all the weight on the web has been placed on a single strand: the intellect. And we can’t survive on intellect alone. The web that holds us together, as humans and as a planet, is ripping apart! The cause is intellect ruled by the ego, which creates a very scary level of self-indulgence. This is a no-holds-barred self-indulgence in which almost everything else is forsaken. And this is planet earth, Twenty-First century style!
To heal our planet, we need to heal ourselves…because we are the source of the imbalance. We need to quiet down, stop thinking, stop controlling, and start listening. Our bodies are the natural world, even as we live in an unnatural environment. If we quiet down and listen to what our bodies need (instead of telling it), we can then feed ourselves naturally and properly, and become more in harmony with the natural world. All our activities and endeavors will resonate with this harmony and we, as well as our planet, can begin to heal. No longer will our actions be governed by ego or intellect; they’ll be guided by the deeper wisdom within. We can then use the intellect as it was meant to be used: to help us shape the wisdom coming through.”