Lord Ganesha is a Hindu deity. It is said that he is the remover of obstacles.
Before I go further, I’d like to note that Yoga and Hinduism are two separate entities. Hinduism is a religion. It is a noun. Yoga is something you do. It is a verb. I like to compare Yoga to singing. Both are verbs. Both can be incorporated into religious practice or done separately. For instance, Christians can sing in church, but not all people who sing are Christian. Hindus can do yoga, but not all people who do yoga are Hindu. In fact, I’ll throw in a little foreshadowing here. Since embarking on this journey I’ve explored a Christian based Yoga called Holy Yoga. I’ve also traveled to a Satanic Temple in Salem Massachusetts to practice Heavy Metal Yoga. But, these stories are for later on.
I need to let you in on a little secret.
I am an addict.
I’m addicted to several things- one is coffee.
Normally I wake up feeling lackluster and reluctant to start my day. Sadly, coffee has become the metaphorical whip I use to beat energy out of the exhausted personal workhorse I call my body.
It was the start of day 3 of yoga teacher training. To my surprise, when I awoke, I felt vibrant. I was excited to start my day. I felt calm and centered, so much so that I thought I’d try to kick my caffeine addiction- for the trillionth time.
Given my elevated mood, I thought anything was possible. So I skipped my morning coffee and made myself a smoothie instead. Here is the recipe if you’d like to try it!
After my first day of Yoga teacher training I decided to hit up a coffee shop on the way home. When I got home, I got an éclair from the refrigerator, grabbed some Cheetos from the kitchen cabinet and headed in to my bedroom. While snacking on them I opened up my laptop and logged on to Facebook. Eventually, and seemingly unbeknownst to me, I found myself staring at a friend of a friend’s wedding pictures while finishing an entire bag of Cheetos.
It was my first day of Yoga teacher training. I’d come to class starving and overly caffeinated – a total win especially since I am a Dietitian. My first class was about to begin. I was feeling overwhelmed taking on teacher training and blogging about it simultaneously. I feared how it would all unfold. I was also deeply petrified of social crucifixion. But, I reasoned that the only things in life you will regret are the risks you don’t take. So, I figured I’d take a leap of faith.
It was the morning of Yoga teacher training. Black coffee in hand, I left home without eating any breakfast. As I drove towards the yoga studio, I sipped my coffee while lost in thought. By the time I arrived, the caffeine had kicked in-giving me a euphoric and false sense of energy.
As someone with a Masters degree in Nutrition Science, I know better than to do this to myself. Seriously. I do. You might too. But, just in case you don’t, let me explain why starting the day off without eating breakfast is a bad idea. Let me also share why running on coffee fumes is even worse.
In Japan they have a type of art called Kintsukuroi. It means the golden repair. The artist will take a broken piece of pottery and mend it with gold. When the repair is finished, gold lines appear where the cracks once were. They say the piece is more beautiful after being broken.
So far, on this journey, I’ve made references. I’ve noted that life is as complicated as a Rubik’s cube and as frustrating to navigate as a labyrinth with revolving walls. I’ve indirectly compared my life to a broken telephone pole lopsidedly hung together exclusively by duct tape. Now I allude to repairing something broken. I leave you to draw your own conclusions.
Here is the thing about fixing something that is broken. You have two choices. You can half-heartedly patch things together with duct tape or you can choose the golden repair. The first is a quick fix that leaves the object no better off. The second takes time and attention to detail, but the object becomes an enhanced version of it’s former self.
I’ve tried the duct tape route. Like I said, it’s just a temporary fix. Now it’s time for the golden repair. The golden repair is comparable to what I call a Life Reboot. A Life Reboot requires you to take the necessary time to explore all aspects of your life that keep you balanced. As you explore each part, you rate how off balance each one is. Then, just as graciously as a Kintsukuroi artist would repair her broken pottery, you repair these parts.
If you feel dissatisfied, I invite you to try out this Life Reboot activity I created. It is designed to help you explore some parts of your life that could be contributing to your personal dissatisfaction. So, if you are interested, read on!
In the figure shown above there is a flower with 6 petals. In each petal, a word is written which represents a part of life necessary for balance. In the center of the flower is the number 10. As you stray further away from the center, you will notice that the numbers reduce until you see 0 at the far end.
At the end of this post you will see an empty figure for you to print out. Once you have printed it out, I invite you to do the following…
In the 6 petals, write 6 important parts of your life.
o Friends, Family, Children, Relationships, Romance, Spirituality, Job, Home, Environment, Hobbies, Finances, Body Image, Nutrition, Fashion, Outdoors, Exercise, Sports, Music, Health, Alone time, Sleep, etc. Whatever you think is important to your personal fulfillment.
After you have written your six words in the petals, rate each on a scale of 0-10.
o 10 = completely happy.
o 0 = completely unhappy
After you are done rating your six words, observe the figure. It’s a visual representation of your dissatisfaction.
I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed when I came across an image of a cracked telephone pole. It looked as if it had been crashed into. Someone, in a half-hearted way, had attempted to fix it with duct tape. It was now lopsided and drooping into the street. Although temporarily mended, it still seemed as if it would fall apart at any moment. There was a caption below the image. It read, “How well I am holding my life together right now”.
Let me be real with you for a moment. If your life resembles a cracked telephone pole mended with duct tape, you are not completely nourished.
To understand life is difficult. It’s like trying to find your way through a giant labyrinth with revolving walls. You’d think that to understand yourself would be more straightforward. But it’s not. Like an only child who is jealous of her sister, we are laden with contradictions.
It was summer of 2016. I was blind and trying to organize the mixed up Rubik’s cube of my life. That’s when I showed up at Ebb n’ Flow for the first time. I met with Kim to discuss volunteering in exchange for yoga classes. Prior to our meeting I was traveling around New England in an effort to understand both life and myself.
I’d meditated with the Buddhists, discussed tradition with the Jews, chanted with the Hindus, did Bible studies with the Christians and sat in on weekly Islam meetings with the Muslims. Now I wanted to see if Yoga could shine some light on the mystery of life and myself.
Here is what I’ve learned so far…
If you are happy, neither navigating the labyrinth nor organizing the Rubik’s cube of life will annoy you.
I’m discontent. I’m seeking something but I’m not sure exactly what it is…
I work as a Dietitian. I often say to my clients that my job is to help them nourish their life. Nourishment is more than just food. Nourishment is anything in this world that contributes to your sense of self, wellbeing and happiness. It has been through discussing this with my clients that I’ve realized something. I’m discontent because I don’t have a fully nourished life.
Jennifer is starting a Yoga journey. She would like to share her experience online with you! Follow her on our blog!
In Yoga, they say the sound OM is the sound of the Universe. OM is found in all major world religions. Each uses it to connect to a higher power. Small cultural and language distortions exist, but ultimately it is the same sound. OM is not something we create. OM is always present. But, by saying it we produce a vibration within ourselves equal to OM. This frequency connects us to OM and we feel a higher power within ourselves. We feel attuned. We sense a deep connection to the universe and each other.