Embracing Week Three-Yoga Challenge/Nourishment Program

I don’t know who said it best or first…  but…..the universe is a fierce and relentless teacher.  This means something different to every person, but it all translates the same way.  This is what we find as we move through life.  Sometimes in a hurry and sometimes in a slower way.  The idea that we can just live life and hope for the best outcome of life is a myth.  The truth is that the universe brings the lessons we are here to learn.  At times the lessons are heart wrenching..  I know for myself that it is at these times when I question my own motivation for everything I do.   Did I do it right?  Did I do it with integrity?   The list goes on.  I find that life has nothing to do with how hard I try, but how much can I listen?  How much can I be present? How much can I learn?  Where am I and what kind of energy am I putting out…  this is taking responsibility for ourselves so that when we do try, and try hard….  It means something, because we do it with intention.  This is Asana, the physical form of yoga practice.  If this is all we did, it would bring us closer to ourselves.  But, it doesn’t stop there, and in fact Asana is just where it begins.
 This is the strength in structure that we work to build.  During the time of a yoga challenge we are all doing a lot of yoga.  We may move our practice to a place we have not known before.  We may do poses we have never done before, or even realized we could do.  This is the present moment during a yoga challenge when we can discover our bodies in a new way and realize what our bodies can do in a whole new way. We discover a new appreciation of our bodies, but…  is this lasting?  It depends on what comes up for us.  A yogi knows that  Asana is what leads us into spiritual practice.  We can release the restraints of the physical body just enough to sense our presence.  And this is where the lessons live.  As we move into more contemplative spaces our minds expand.  We have the ability to touch memories, experiences, genetics.. that we might not otherwise touch upon.  What happens then?  That is where the universe becomes this teacher that we can know as much or as little as we desire.  It’s like having a dream that we aren’t sure happened.  It did happen, but in our subconscious mind (our lovely brains).  When we practice yoga regularly we touch upon what is stored in our subconscious mind.  It is there just waiting for us to explore.  I believe that it is this exploration the grows us, and creates lasting change.  Some days I go to yoga feeling strong and I can move through a practice with ease and strength and what comes out of my subconscious mind is a feeling of support and joy.  And then there are those practices or days when what comes up is a ball of something I am trying to make sense of.  Often this is accompanied with emotion.  I think it is so important to acknowledge this experience.  Because it is so hard to get to.  Life is busy and there are few moments both present and still enough where we can access these lessons.  I feel that there is no shame in coming to tears or curling into child’s pose when these moments present themselves.  They are there for us to feel.  It is ok to feel.  We are feeling beings.  This is how we grow.  Yoga teaches us to revisit.  I remember Chris Calarco saying,  we practice to remember.  This is the practice of remembering who we are.  This can be a genetic remembrance or something from this lifetime.  In any case, thankfully… we remember.  We remember that we are perfect flawed in our own beautiful and unique way.  This is such a gift.  This is the spiritual practice of yoga and this is what creates strength in structure and also strength in community.
So … here we are, midway through the challenge and the nourishment program.  Now we are in the depths.  This is the hardest part, the middle.  Not close enough to the end to see the light and far enough from the start to quit at this point.  Relearning our bodies, minds, and spirits.  Cleansing is actually a difficult process.  We have to go through the hard part to get to the good part.  This is where commitment and fortitude come into play.  Because life doesn’t stop… we just do.  I am finding that I have slowed way down with out my afternoon coffee and not letting myself have certain things.  The true challenge is the upcoming week.  DETOX WEEK!  What have I gotten myself into?  Once again..  I know that I will be ok, if not just uncomfortable.  Its just a week.  I can do anything for a week right?  NO COFFEE, alcohol, nightshades, dairy, citrus…limited technology..etc..    Mostly just veggies…  And lots of yoga.
The incentive or reward that I can foresee is the upcoming weekend with Rolf Gates.  He is a profound and amazing teacher.  I am thrilled and honored to take his yoga classes next weekend.  I have been following his work for some time.  This is the light at the end of the detox tunnel.
A quote from Cheryl Stayed..”It’s folly to measure your success in money or fame.  Success is measured only by your ability to say yes to these two questions:
Did I do the work I needed to do?
Did I give it everything I had?
Here is to the third week of the yoga challenge and nourishment program.  May we all love and support each other as we go! Namaste.
Danielle Boucher Quast

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