Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ayurveda, Yoga, and the Gita

I wrote about my New Years Resolutions. Now that the year is half over, a little assessment is due.
(This is a long post, so I give you some more cat pictures, which have nothing to do with the post, but so what.)

1. Make friends.

Well, I have made many acquaintences. And there are a few women I have met at yoga with whom I really click and plan to go to get coffee. My friend Laurel is coming back from Italy soon, and that will be a great help. Just being in yoga class and being on a first name basis with people has lifted me out of my funk a bit. And I have been painting with my friend Frank Serrano. He is one of the best painters in the country and a great person.

I have realized that just being in social situations is so important to my mental health. Mark has been working all night lately to meet a deadline, and after being alone all day, I find myself walking to Trader Joes just to be around nice people. Even just to talk to someone about coffee or cereal. I hope that doesn't seem too pathetic.

2. Be Happy.

This has been a big change. The combination of practicing yoga, meditating, and socializing has had a big effect. I haven't had a relapse of the blues at all.

3. Become a Yogi.

Finding yoga has been life changing. I mean, I plan to make it a lifelong habit. Yoga is a journey. There is always more. More to learn, more that it can give me, more that I can give back, more I can explore my limits. There are people of all shapes and sizes doing amazing things in the classes. Even a 60 year old woman who can go up into a handstand and do a split no problem. I am doing things that I never thought I could. Poses that six months ago I thought were impossible, I can now do well. I had a breakthrough the other day where I was able to drop back to a backbend and then stand back up from it. I was thrilled. It is very good for the self esteem.
Yoga combines the mind, spirit, and body. All three have to work very hard together. It is so exhilarating and peaceful. I usually have a big smile on my face the whole time.

And it has introduced me to wonderful philosophies and ideas. Like Tantric philosophies and Ayurvedic studies. I like the Tantric ideas because they seem very human and real to me. Unlike some aspects of Buddhism or Christian ideas, where attaining enlightenment means painful self sacrifice or the renunciation of all things pleasurable. Tantric ideas celebrate the idea that we are manifestations of divine energy put here to experience it's own divinity through the physical body, through giving, sharing, and finding your purpose or dharma. I like that.

Ayurveda is a 5000 year old 'science of life', which is it's literal translation. It is based on the idea that everything in the world is made up of 5 elements: Ether, Air, Water, Fire, and Earth. In the aspect of humans, we are composed of these elements in terms of the three doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata is Ether and Air. Pitta is Fire and a little Water. Kapha is Water and Earth. Depending upon how much of each of these doshas we have, our constitution or Pakruti, is determined. Ayurveda is concerned with every aspect of life. It bases happiness and health on three things: sleep, sex, and food. Ahhh, yes. So true. But it encompasses all aspects of life: aromatherapy, color therapy , massage, herbs, food combining, and daily rituals. It sees all those things, including food, as an aspect of gaining and keeping your ideal balance, which is different for everyone.
I have been applying many of these ideas into my habits, which I learned from going to an Ayurvedic master, Mary Alice Quinn.
And I have been enjoying the benefits. I learned from Mary Alice that I am 55% Pitta, 30%Kapha, and 15% Vata. Which means I have a lot of Fire. That explains why I love cool dry days. And that I have a lot of Water and Earth, which is why I am thick and sturdy. Ha.

So I feel I have made good progress on the resolutions. I need to work on the make friends a bit more. Did anyone else make any resolutions? How did you do?


saffry said...

I love that you're happy and finding inner peace. I know how hard it is to make friends, too. I'd say I went from 1992 until this year without making a single new friend, so you're not the only introvert around. But even I managed to get a new friend on speed dial this year, so hope is not lost for you. You just have to make that leap from "planning to ask for coffee" to actually asking. Good luck.

ks1k said...

Yoga. Wasn't he a baseball player, catcher for the Yankees?

Oh, That was Yogi Berra.

Not Yogi Bear.

Seriously, good for you. Yoga is a wonderful way of life.