There was a time when the littlest things would throw me out of focus and off balance. Someone’s tone could send me swirling down an offended sinkhole or, if my plan for the day got interrupted, I’d spend hours behind the glass shield of annoyed and disconnected.
As a recovering perfectionist, I get especially affected when my plans get disrupted. My Virgo sun really loves things to look neat. Organized. Handled.
For example, I am preparing to teach a yoga class. I’ve been looking forward to it all day. I declutter the spaces, I plan my class, I log onto zoom early, music cued up, I warm-up my body, and I wait for people to arrive.
1 minute until class is supposed to begin, and no one is on the zoom.
Hmmm…This is strange.
2 minutes after, 5 minutes after, 8 minutes after… Where is everyone?
Then, I get a text from someone waiting for me to “start the zoom meeting.”
Turns out, I was logged into the wrong account. Rookie mistake.
No biggie though... It’s Friday, and I don’t stress on Fridays.
I stay cool and calm, I switch accounts, get everyone into class.
Boom, we get going about 11 minutes after.
Within the first 10 minutes of class, my housemate’s dogs decide to join me on-camera.
I comment on it lightly by reminding my students about being like the trees in the forest, maintaining equanimity amongst the wind and the birds, while I continue our opening sequence.
Then, the dogs begin to rough-house and play. Pouncing at each other. Flaring their rear-ends directly to the camera.
It was hilarious but very distracting.
And to my standards, completely unprofessional.
So I put the class in child’s pose and got the dogs out of the way.
Pre-yoga Jessi would have gotten flustered. Thrown off her plan, completely disrupted, she would have lost focus and gotten overwhelmed.
But now, I have tools to pull me out of the riptide of wasting energy - being affected or being bothered or being agitated by the lurking “what if’s” or the potential doom of disruption.
I look back, aware of all the time and energy I wasted, and I am grateful for my ability to now respond in a playful and calm manner.
The system of yoga and the science of Ayurveda, turned on many much needed light bulbs for me. With tools for investigation and access to a limitless energy supply, I am now empowered by the energetics of everything - all included.
I inner-stand that my job is to keep my vibes high. To be an active participant in what unfolds before me.
The chaos is always happening around me. My practice is to be effective in the eye of the storm.
The Yoga Sutras (recognized as the scholarly text on yoga), outline the 8-Limb Path: a step-by-step guide of practices and observances that provide a path toward personal liberation through harnessing energetics and relating to life.
This training helps us maintain a balanced relationship with our inner and outer worlds.
Over my 9-year journey as a yoga teacher, the 8-limbs have been my guideposts. My facility with the 8-limbs allows me to be adaptable through disruptions, like with the dogs in my yoga class last Friday.
I am all about being efficient and effective.
I like the tools I can (and will) actually use.
And I want to enjoy my time here in this human body.
Yoga helps me maintain my mental health. It is a perspective on life I wish someone would have taught me earlier. But, maybe I wasn’t listening then.
Applying the 8-limbs into daily life situations feels natural and organic, now.
It is simple. It makes sense. And it works.
6 Ways Yoga Keeps Me Sane
Though not always easy, choosing to see life as a party keeps it simple.
1. Ahimsa - the practice of non-violence.
Sutra 2.35 says, “Establish firmly in kindness, and all hostilities cease.”
Ahimsa is the practice of always making your goal love.
So in this situation, I cultivated an energy of kindness towards myself and the dogs.
I was aware of my old habits of dropping into low vibrations of frustration or stress. I didn’t stay there long, instead I chose to stay strong and fearless in my knowing that I am now here for the purpose: remain hospitable toward all beings.
2. Bramacharya - conscious use of energy.
Sutra 2.38 says, “Establish in a growth mindset, there is an attainment of vital energy.”
Reacting to the situation at-hand in anger, frustration or panic is depleting. And the negative stress of judgement I’d place onto myself hinders my ability to be creative or connected. I now understand that those low-vibe reactions are the opposite of growth, so I work really hard to not waste my energy being stressed. I continued to teach my class in a calm manner and it was a wonderful practice in being unshakable.
3. Aparigraha - the practice of non-attachment.
The plan I had created for the evening was a reasonable request and I did my best to make it happen. When I put aparigraha into practice I let go of my expectations and I move forward. I let go of my concern about promptness and looking professional, I release my annoyance of not getting it perfect, and I am able to stay in my awesomeness. A present and articulate yoga teacher.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
-William Shakespeare, Hamlet
4. Santosha - the practice of contentment.
I accept the situation as it is presented to me and participate in the unfolding mystery. I don’t get caught up in what is lacking, I don’t resign or give up. I remember that all is well and I practice staying chill. I can choose to practice santosha, or I can sacrifice my enjoyment of the present moment.
Sutra 2.42 says, “With contentment supreme joy is gained.”
And supreme joy seems like a worthwhile gain.
5. Svadhyaya - be a forever student of life.
Yoga taught me to learn from everything. In all situations, I now see opportunities instead of problems.
6. Ishvara Pranidhana - devoted to the celebration of life.
I practice surrender to the wisdom of uncertainty and dedicate my time and energy towards celebrating what’s here. The abundance of kindness from my yoga community, the playfulness of super cute doggies, the relief of Friday night yoga class, and the abundance that my awareness of it all provides me.
Stella Luna Yoga School programs provide an accessible and simple approach to the ancient wisdom of yoga. We incorporate a wide range of hatha yoga techniques to educate our students about a wholistic and integrative approach to living life with peace and awareness. We teach yogic philosophy, poses, breathing, meditation, seasonal wellness, conscious communication and more.
Through our 200-hour and 300-hour Yoga Teacher Training, we offer: comprehensive online learning, live workshops and masterclasses, and one-on-one mentorship to help you create physical, mental and spiritual alignment.