Sunday, March 8, 2015

A new Take on Mastering the Senses

Sensory Mastery (Partyhara). This is something not discussed very much in many yoga books, however it is about discovering the limits of perceptions when attempting to quite the mind, but also understanding the importance of doing so. This is also about learning to use the senses moderately and to be undisturbed in most situations. This word is made up of two words. The first is Prati, meaning “to call back’, and ahara, which means, “to take in “.  The first time we look at this is when we start exploring the postures. As we quite the mind in our postures, we start to see the benefits to being still from within. The inner stillness allows the outside to appear still and calm even when we may not be.  This is the fifth step to the eight-fold path. We started with yamas, then niyamas, next was asanas, and then the Pranayamas, and now Partyhara. This is linked in with Dharana, which I touched on when talking about the attitudes of postures. Dharana is translated to concentration and comes from the word dhir, which means, “to hold or retain”.  Partyhara and Dharana are closely related to each other, because in order to achieve sensory mastery, you need to concentrate. Essentially sensory mastery is just having control over your senses. This does not mean that you cannot have senses or feel certain ways about anything, but being able to react or not react and control the reaction to be what you need it to be would be sensory mastery. In a class recently we had a discussion about how to do to this, and as it turns out I have a much different opinion, or view on how to do this.  In class we discussed the gunas and how people move through their reactions from Rajas, Tamas, and Satva.  People move through these three points when making decisions with Rajas and Tamas being the base of the triangle and representing low and high frequency feelings such as anger and ego. Satva is the top point of the pyramid and represents the purity and balance of being in a zen-like state.  As people move between these people forget to see things from another persons view point, and that only through seeing things from another’s view point do we come to understand what happened and can we then come to a proper reaction.  However we react represents our side of the action rather than the entire picture. Basically until we understand we are just supposed to assume that we do not know (since we don’t) and work to understand. Personally I don’t want to know. I do not need to know, I am not one to judge anyone or anything. First of all I am in no position to do so being as that I am human.  If I was in charge of understanding everyone and everything that they did and why they did it, then I would become entirely too overwhelmed. Plus who is to say that I should be deemed responsible to take of all of this. I have my own prejudices about things, and if I were to control things, then the world would be way messed up. I know that our discussion did not say that I need to control everything, but instead come to and understanding of it all, but I do not want or need that on me. For me I give that up to a power greater than me. To get to this step there are a few things you need to do first such as believe that you are not the greatest thing in the world and that you are not fully in control of everything, second believe that there is something else at work out there that is a bigger and greater than you that can help you, and lastly take action to turn your will over to this power.

So first we need to understand that we are not all powerful.  When thinking about yourself in your own life, think about if you are really in control of everything and everyone? Personally, I am not. I cannot make people do what I want them to do. I can try and sometimes it works, but then who am I to have trying to manipulate them, their lives or the situation? I am not all-powerful or all knowing. I could never understand every angle in order to understand why people do things the way they do, nor could I understand every angle in order to manipulate it for the good of all. Understanding that you do not control others is one thing, but now take it a little bit deeper; can you control yourself? I know I can’t. I can control my physical reactions, yes, but I don’t control my first thought. My first thought is impulsive as is anyone’s.  It shows your prejudices or feelings. It shows your upbringing, or history, and no one can control this. You may control your second thought or how you react to your thoughts or the situation, but that first thought shows you how you are not fully in control. Now take it one step further, and realize that not only are you not all-powerful, but in essence you are powerless. This may come as a shock and you may resist the idea at first, no one wants to think about the fact that they are completely powerless in this world. Of course you control what you do, but do you really? We just saw that you don’t even always have control over that first thought that pops into your head so how can you truly control anything after that? Then how do you control how the other reacts to your reaction? The answer is that you can’t. This is not a bad thing, in all reality it is a good thing, it can relieve stress in some way since you no longer need to feel as though you need to control everything you do and how everyone reacts to it. This first step helps you to understand that you are not in control of anyone including at times yourself, but now you can not just go through life unresponsive to others, and you don’t so what next?

So if you understand that you are not in control, then you must next come to believe that there is something that does. This thing would be a power greater than your self, I call this power god, because higher power and god are interchangeable words to me. I don’t always believe that they have interchangeable meanings, but to me the words themselves are interchangeable.  This power can take many forms weather it be Mother Nature, God, Allah, Vishnu, the Universe, your higher You, etc… It can be whatever you want it to be; the only requirements are that is it bigger and greater than you.  This does not have to be a religious thing seeing as though some of these are more scientific like the universe. If you were to choose to see it as a religious thing though, that is fine too. Understanding that although you do not carry the weight of make decisions and reactions for people, there is something out there that does. As I review earlier, I could never understand everyone’s situation in order to make them do what I think is best, and who is to say that what I think really is best. If everyone acted for my best interest and the way I would want them to, then there would be a lot less diversity in this world. Yoga Bob pointed out that 10 people collectively will always know more than 10 people individually, and this make a lot of sense to me since we all study different things, come from different backgrounds, and are headed in different futures.  In some instances after understanding the collective knowledge of a group, there are those who choose a higher power to be a group. It does not matter who is in that group as long as it is more than one. If you are alone making decisions and choosing fates for others than you are acting in your will and not in the best interest of others, however in a group there are other points of view. So there will either be a never-ending argument as to who could be right (which shows that no one knows), or a conclusion that you do not know and that that is ok.  Either way no matter what you are to chose as a power greater than yourself you can now begin to put some trust into this power that it is greater than you and can help you if you were to ask for it. If you do not know, you can ask this power, and that is what brings us to the next step.

Once you have picked a higher power though then you no longer need to hold the weight of everything else on your physical shoulders. You can turn it over to this power, which is able to hold it for you. You no longer need to understand why anyone does anything, because it is not your responsibility. Your first thought may be “he’s a jerk” or “she’s so mean” or even “that’s too nice” but your second thought is then “not my problem, I can turn this over” When you turn things over you are accepting your role in the situation and getting rid of anything else. Some people refer to this as “staying in your own lane” and it applies perfectly to this idea. As we saw before you cannot control anyone else, so why should his or her actions and reactions control you? They don’t have to. You may not like what they are doing due to a past experience or due to a different background or education. In the end its about accepting the fact that they are different from you and that you do not need to understand the why, nor control the what that whoever is doing.  If you stay in your lane and keep your side of the street clean by reacting appropriately then everything will be ok. So what is an appropriate reaction? What happens when you want to make things go your way again? What if I don’t agree with them? What if you cannot keep your will turned over all of the time and allow your higher power to carry the weight for you? This is ok. First of all, its not like you just wake up one morning as say “(insert higher power name here) take my will and guide me through life”. It’s a decision you make millions of times a day, and if you mess up its ok. Every time something happens that throws you off balance emotionally or spiritually, you just turn it over. You tell yourself “this is not my problem” accept it and let your higher power take over. So, just to clarify, when I say “accept”, I do not mean “agree with”. Just because you accept that some one is different does not mean that they are wrong or that you are wrong, it just means you understand that they see things differently. This is like in France people speak French, and in England they speak English; neither one is wrong, but we can understand that they are different. Some people are Catholic, and some are Hindu; neither is wrong, but they are different. Some people are Republican and some are Democratic; neither is wrong, but they are different. See accepting does not mean that there is a wrong or right it just means that there is an acknowledgement of the other and understanding that the beliefs or values may differ. Any reaction is appropriate since this is your action, but it is important that you react in a way that is for you. Don’t give people the reaction they want and become a doormat, but don’t be so assertive in your opinion that you are hurting others. I have found that the best way to stay neutral is to simply let it go at first. Accept that I do not understand and that I never will, and that this is ok, because that is not my job or responsibility. When I have time I then turn to my God and tell him how I feel, let out my anger and frustration until I realize once again that its ok. I am not all knowing or all-powerful. I am not the decision maker for all nor do I need to be. My role is to simply be me, accept others for who they are and keep on going about my day.

Monday, March 2, 2015

From then to Now... The Beginnings

          Seeing as though the only blog I have had is solely on my website, I have decided to start my own personal blog where I can add more personal thoughts and travels through my journey as a personal trainer and yoga instructor into the business world of entrepreneurs as I learn to run my own business., and handle being a single teen mom turning into a women, mother, and hopefully one day a wife. I figure I should start with my journey into all of this since this is more of a personal blog and it is supposed to be about me. Please understand that although what I am going to write, although many of my close friends know this is not something I have publicly made known to the world yet, and although I have come to terms with the things here I just haven't had the experience of sharing it with the world, and I would like to start now. My childhood is something I am only just coming to terms with as of about a year ago. One year ago I was a dying heroin addict with no path in life, no self worth, and no love for my life or anyone else’s. My ability to live a normal life in society was gone, and I was what you could consider the scum of the earth. October of last year is when I decided to finally go to rehab, get my life together, and clean up my act. I went to rehab and came out with a determined attitude to stay clean. The first thing I did was join a 12 step fellowship who made it clear that the point of their steps was to be able to function in society as anyone else would. The thing that stuck out to me was that in order for me to function in a society of non-addicts, I would have to do things the way non-addicts did them. Learning to cope with problems in ways that weren’t just for addicts. This meant that using the guidelines and steps established in the fellowship were not going to work for others. I had to figure out what normal people did when they would get stressed or irritated. I needed to figure out how to live. My first thought came from a realization I had had from a few years before; to meditate. I vowed to learn how since I hadn’t given it a chance really when I was younger. I joined a yoga school for a meditations course and took a few classes based on how to improve your meditations. When I was done with those classes I dove into making daily meditations a part of my everyday life. I realized quickly though that there were some days that I could just not sit still that long, but I still wanted to get a meditation in, and so I decided to incorporate some of the simple yoga flows I had learned to help keep my body moving rhythmically while meditating. I would do sun salutations for hours because they were simple and mindless and gave me the ability to move while in deep thought. As this progressed I decided to start looking into more poses and flows, and I became borderline obsessed with finding new ways to push my body and mind to the limit.

I did 7 months of deep soul searching to find out who I was, and what I was both good at and bad at; what I liked and disliked, and what my strengths and weaknesses were. In learning about myself I can honestly say, I did not really have too many spiritual experiences as a child; in fact I cannot think of any. I grew up in what you could consider a traditionally European household thrown in the middle of lower middle class America. I did my best to fit in with other children, but never really could. I had a taste for trying new things and being different and reckless. I started down a dark path that began with drinking and many arrests and complete destruction of my life and all those that I came into contact with. I was sent out to Arizona to finish high school in a reform school where I discovered a few things. First I discovered that drinking wasn't really my thing. Second I discovered that meditating was something I enjoyed, and could change my life. The last thing I discovered was unfortunately the thing that did change my life; which was heroin. I came back at least with this newfound love that was destroying me, and spiraled downward into an inescapable horror of addiction. I met a guy who I thought was going to save me, but little did I know that I was the only one who could really save me. I leaned on him as a savior, and although it was a deeply destructive, and abusive relationship, I still clung to him, for I was now only 18 and pregnant. He was 27 and in my mind meant he must have had things under control  but he did not. He was as lost as I was in his addiction and in no position to help me out. I finally got a hold of myself when my daughter was about 7 months old, and got away from the situation, but I was just as lost and afraid as I had been before, and now I had a child to raise on my own. I took a job bar tending and slowly began to try to get my life together financially. After two years of isolation and hard work, I finally took the last step, and went to rehab.

As I started with the fellowship and with my meditations, I slowly began to change for the better. My roommates were the first to see the change. They used to say I wasn’t being myself. My instinct to fight first and put up defenses were slowly breaking down.  I was no longer jumping the gun, or picking a fight for no reason. I was calm and reserved and more of a thinker. As they pointed these things out I started looking for these flaws in my personality and realized that they had really become obsolete in my life. This realization that not only was I becoming the real me, but that this person was a kind, loving, and genuine person felt great. My yoga practice increased to being done everyday for multiple hours a day, watching YouTube tutorials and DVD’s I had borrowed from friends. I started a daily practice in July when I started doing some social media “challenges” which allowed me to learn new poses and forced me to practice everyday to get the pose of the day. I started working for a Crossfit gym in January of 2014 and learned about how both Crossfit and yoga can and should coincide as an excellent way to stay healthy and in shape. I worked here learning the ins and outs of the business world, and how to run a gym. In August I went through a way over due keen surgery to fix my acl and meniscus, and I was no longer able to do Crossfit to the same extent I had before. Not only was my Crossfit routines altered, but I had to revert to lots of simplistic poses and flows. I used yoga to coax my leg back into finding its stability and ability to bend again.

Up until last month I having been keeping up with at least an hour of yoga a day and one hour of meditations, but I started realizing that my practice could use some tweaking and additional coaching. So I started searching for yoga studios that I enjoyed going to. I started working at a new studio and was able to take classes everyday. As I continued my search I also began to realize, through my meditations, that I really wanted to give the amazing experience I had gotten through yoga to others. I want so desperately to be able to reach out to young girls who have gone through some of the same experiences that I had and help them find the beauty in life. I thought though that I could not do this since I had a 12 step fellowships guidelines, and meditations, and decided that this would not work for everyone. Some people never had a drug or alcohol problem, and some may just be turned away as soon as they heard that I was using a 12-step process. The solution I decided upon was to get my yoga teacher certification and teach others how to meditate and do yoga in order to find the peace and happiness I know is in all of us. 

            The company I have started is called BeYou-T-Fit, and its purpose is to teach people how to find the value in themselves. I am so grateful to those who helped me find myself and learn to love that person that I want to pay it back. It is not enough though for me to just help them though there are people everywhere who suffer from thoughts of inability and low self worth. I want to help show everyone that they are truly unique and special, and that these qualities are not only awesome and beautiful, but are highly valued by many. I am just starting with personal training since that is the only certification that I have, however the entire company is based on feeling good through mind, body, and spirit. For many people it is easier to understand the physical; what they can see. So I try to get people being active and exercising, as everyone starts feeling better about how they look and their self esteem raises then I start getting them involved in meditations and group discussions. At this point in the process I encourage many people to seek outside help, since I do not have a degree in psychology. I would like to help people tap into some deep rooted emotions and feelings, and help them get through difficult times, and start to see themselves with all of their worth, however I can only help to a certain degree. After I get the mind and body right then we focus on the fact that your spirit has changed and that individuals have more self worth and a higher self-esteem. I will be offering personal training, yoga, yogance, group discussions, guided meditations, and self esteem workshops. I also plan on doing some motivational speaking at local high schools to help promote both good vibes and my company. 

           So this here is my back ground story, and I know I will probably get a lot of hate or judgements for this, but it is important to me that this story gets heard.