Sunday, October 9, 2011

Abundance II

wildflowers in Crested Butte, CO

Yoga is very practical.  On the yoga mat, we can learn more about how we're feeling off the mat: what we're resisting, what we're craving, what we need to let go.  We can also use our yoga practice to cultivate what we want more of in our lives.  For instance, cultivating a sense of gratitude on the mat inevitably leads to a more profound sense of gratitude and appreciation off the mat.  

Yogic philosophy teaches us to practice non-attachment, or greedlessness.  (Aparigraha, often translated as greedlessness, is one of the yamas in step one of Patanjali's eight-limbed path.)  Practicing nonattachment can be difficult in our culture, which in many ways tells us to feel attachment, to want more and more, to worry about losing what we have.  But, to feel greed or attachment, we must believe at a fundamental level there is a lack or scarcity.  If you believe you'll always have what you need, there's no reason to feel selfish or attached. 

This week I will encourage the practitioners in my classes to cultivate a sense of abundance during their yoga practice.  A belief in abundance can feel like a radical idea, and it is.  It's transformative.  How incredible to come to a place where you believe -- where you know -- that you have everything you need, that you are everything you need.  You are already enough.  You are already complete.  There is no need to compare yourself to the people around you, on the mat or off.  There is no need to feel competitive.  One of my favorite quotes (sadly, I must admit here that I got this quote from an episode of Army Wives!) is, "There's enough success in the world for everyone."  If you believe this, there's no reason to feel envy or jealousy.  The principle of abundance changes everything, and you can decide to embrace the principle of abundance. 

This week I ask you to give this idea a try.  I ask that you cultivate a deep sense of abundance during the moments you spend on your yoga mat and see if you can take that feeling out of the yoga room with you. 

To feel a deep sense of abundance in your life, you have to let go of worry and anxiety.  Another of my favorite quotes is, "Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow - it empties today of strength" (Carrie Ten Bloom).  We can cultivate a sense of ease on our yoga mats that assists us elsewhere in our lives.  We can learn to let go of the anxiety that clouds and clutters.  None of this is easy -- I'm the first one to admit that! -- but it is so incredibly worthwhile.

When we believe in abundance -- when we feel a deep sense of abundance in our lives -- we can then cultivate selflessness.  When we change our own story to one of abundance, it becomes easier than ever to be generous with our money, our time, whatever we have to share.  Anne Frank said, "No one has ever become poor by giving."  I find this sentiment beautiful and inspiring, and I hear it as a call to us to live a life of abundance and generosity.  The more we give, the more we have.  Be the change.


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