Today has been a pretty peaceful day! So, the aspect of Niyama that has resonated most with my experiences today has been:
Isvara Pranidhanam: a life of dedication, of offering everything to God/ to humanity. Dedicating my life to humanity is not something i can really say ive mastered in one day! But in my copy of the Yoga Sutras (i have the Sri SwamiSatchidananda translation) it says ‘whatever we do can be easily transformed into worship by our attitude’, and talks about dedicating tasks like moving a chair, to god/ humanity! If we drag a chair it is not gentle- if we move it gently, with respect, this becomes yoga!! We can even wash dishes in a worshipful way! I love this- it brings things bang into my daily life and i do have a habit of being a bit clumsy ; i am aware of wanting to be more careful and mindful when doing daily tasks, even when handling my children, and this shows me how and why!
Feeding my baby at the park today in the sunshine, i also felt a connection to something greater, ‘God’ if you like to call it that; maybe to nature, maybe to the essence of life. And i thought that i can see feeding time as a form of worship, meditate on the greater connection of what i am doing; nourishing another human, keeping him alive and , well, nurturing the next generation! That’s pretty big eh?! So, another opportunity to bring spirituality into my daily activity as a Mum. Its about more than just enhancing my own pleasure, its about feeling a connection to the world outside of myself and my baby; and it is very easy to get quite ‘walled in’ when parenting young children; you are so attentive to them and observant of them, it can feel like you have no energy for the ‘outside world’. This has got to help that!
I remember my yoga teacher Jackie talking about saying to yourself at the start of a class that you are dedicating your yoga practice to humanity/ to the greater good, i think she called in ‘offering up your practice’, i liked this and have used it many times although i don’t always remember. So great, another benefit of my home- based yoga retreat- i will go back to doing this again! In fact, im going to do this every morning, whether or not im doing an Asana practice that morning. I’m increasingly drawn to the idea that ‘practicing yoga is so much more than Asana practice’ , and that one can definitely be practicing while parenting!
So, next stage: Asana! Asanas are yoga poses or postures. This is what we tend to think of as yoga itself; it is just one aspect but obviously the most visible, and tangible. Today i actually kept my yoga mat unrolled all day, hoping to get some time for a fuller practice; i will see how this goes tomorrow but it would be great to be able to reflect on this aspect of the 8 limbs from a nice shoulder stand!