Practical mystic and yoga guru Yogacharini Maitreyi talks about how yoga helps you multi-task in daily life.
Life can sometimes overwhelm us with the many tasks we have to accomplish and the roles we have to play. It is easy to get frustrated with not being perfect. Know what your strength is and do not overestimate yourself as well as the contributing energies around and your team. However hold a grand vision and the space for things being harmonious when you are juggling life’s roles. There are people who have more than one focus. Some can be both an artist and a business person. Apart from that one has to be a good mother or son, a spouse, a member of society, a friend and various other roles one needs to play along the way.
There are many approaches to increase one’s ability to participate fully in life without getting trapped by perfectionism. Yoga will make you better at whatever you do. It helps you approach your life with better energy and awareness. Hence your BEING will infiltrate whatever you are DOING. Yoga including the asanas, work on your BEING. So it is good to start working on your BEING through the practice of yoga. Then we become comfortable with our Being rather than escape it. With yoga we cultivate self awareness and learn to draw conscious loving boundaries. We are cultivating a relaxed or still ( sattvic) being and from that space also doing.
Do your best: One of the main teachings of the Bhagavad Gita is to do one’s best and leave the rest to the universal consciousness. There is no point in getting trapped in indecision and depression over a long period as it is an energy drainer. Sometimes though we may wish for harmony we have to confront conflict. Once this attitude is there, then one can move ahead to create harmony or balance by doing that which is in alignment with the universal plan.
Keep at it: As with every act, the more practice a juggler has, the better he gets. So just practice. Any artist or scientist knows the value of keeping at it. There will be challenges and hurdles along the way and learn to face them. Also when planning fit in time for this.
Let a few balls drop: Sometimes when you are concerned you are not as good with juggling five balls as with three, it’s okay to let a few of them drop. See what activities are most in alignment with your life purpose and feel the rest drop. It is ok to let go of some activities.
Energy management: A lot of people are very focused on time management, which is good. However it is good to keep in mind how you manage your energy as well. The entire yogic system is to optimise energy in the system. Yoga, therefore, does not mean just asanas but also how we structure our lives.
Use of energy
Asanas and pranayamas help generate energy and remove pranic or energy blocks. We have to be aware as to how to use that energy. That is why discernment or viveka is constantly applied. One uses discernment to see if the energy is used in a way that takes us towards our life purpose. If the activity is just dissipating us then we need to see that as well.
The more prana or energy we have the more we can do easily. As we know indecision can drain us of energy and too much analysis can as well. So sometimes it is good to clearly SEE the situation and do what needs to be done. It is good to communicate our needs as well and not feel guilty for being aware of our needs. We also need to know the difference between wants and needs.
Even the best juggler needs a rest. At a juggling festival in Italy, I observed that some had the focus to go on for a long time. They were so relaxed that the balls seemed like an extension of their bodies. It was beautiful to watch. However even they needed some rest.
Yoga practice builds energy and awareness in the system.
The Sharaba Kriya: The sharaba is said to be part bird, part lion and part man. This was the form that Shiva took to fight and calm down Narasimha who had slain the asura Hirnayakashipu. Narasimha was half man and half lion. The form of the sharaba, which also had the powers of a bird including flight, was necessary to win the fight with Narasimha. Then Narasimha calmed down to his peaceful form where he could be worshipped by his devotees. Narasimha is the incarnation of Vishnu, the sustainer.
Whenever there is too much imbalance he incarnates to bring back balance into the world. He is like the maintenance person in a company who would check if some machine or system is not at good working condition. He also plays HR and sees if things are in order in the people front.
One need not look at them as religious symbols but as metaphors for life. Then they take on a whole different meaning and one surrenders to these beautiful life truths rather than just being superstitious.
Similarly we all know or relate to Shiva as the destroyer. He essentially is the change management guru. He brings down the old buildings, structures or systems when its purpose is over so new things can evolve.
Either way the point of these stories is to depict that the combined forces of man, lion and bird are very powerful. This power can be accessed by the kriya we learn and practice. By practicing the sharaba kriya we can access this power to release us from tamas (inertia, ignorance) or rajas (mindless activity). It helps especially with those who are wired and whose nervous system is agitated. The deep breathing accompanied by the body movement done consciously offers tremendous benefits. It also purifies the system of this need to do, just for the sake of doing.
Yogacharini Maitreyi is a practical mystic who teaches yoga and creates conscious community around the world. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org; www.arkaya.net
The Sharaba Kriya technique
1. Stand on all fours and breathe deeply in a relaxed fashion. This is the chatus pada (four feet) asana. Be aware to check that the arms are shoulder distance apart and feet are relaxed.
2. Breathe in and lift your right leg up gently and gracefully. Let the legs be as straight as possible. A slight bend at the knee is fine. Look up. Check to see that the hips are not tilted. Be aware of the right side of your lungs
3. Breathe out and bring the knee back to the ground, rounding the back, shoulders and neck and being aware of all your back muscles and vertebrae as you move. Also bring your awareness to your core or abdominal area. Then go back to chatus pada asana and relax.
4.Relax in the child’s pose.
Do three rounds on the right side and then three on the left. As you lift your right leg, focus on the right lobes of the lungs and as you lift the left leg be aware of the left side of the lungs. This is a more subtle dimension and you will become aware of the lobes of the lungs over long term practice. So in the beginning just get the technicalities right and that in itself will bring many benefits. Also take care to relax after the kriya.