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Yoga Sutra 1.33

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Skipping ahead again to yoga sutra 1.33, which states, Maitri karuna mudita upeshanam sikha dukha punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatah chitta prasadanam: In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion towards those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference towards those who we perceive as wicked.

This sutra speaks volumes. And its practicality is refreshing. Sutra 1.33 shows us how to behave towards anyone we might encounter. Instead of brooding with jealously towards those people who are better off than we are, we can become friendly. Instead of ignorance towards those who are suffering, we must practice compassion. Instead of contempt towards those who are virtuous, we can give good will. And instead of anger towards those we view as wicked, we can refuse to fuel the flame of evil by becoming emotionally neutral.

Such advice may sound logical, but to put it into practice takes a high degree of mindfulness. The mind easily falls back into its usual patterns when confronted with emotional triggers. To rewrite those patterns, especially if they are out of alignment with our own highest morals, takes some work.

This is where your yoga mat meets life. The equanimous mind, cultivated through yoga practice, will be needed when you encounter people who trigger your emotions. Remember yoga sutra 1.33 in such times to help you find balance and a mental state of peace. This practice will help you to view life from a new perspective—one free from attachments and aversions.

Yogi of the Month: Donna Aveck

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My husband, Jim, and I both grew up in Dearborn, Michigan, but didn’t meet until our final year of college.  We both worked our way through college doing a variety of odd jobs, including bartending and waitressing.  I graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in marketing.  Jim was a history and geography major.

Shortly after graduation we got married, stored our wedding gifts, bought backpacks, and headed to Equator.  Our goal was to visit the Galapagos Islands.  We spent two weeks traveling with the Equatorian Navy and visited all the Islands.  Our meager savings lasted for six months as we continued hitch-hiking throughout South America.  Traveling, being physically active, and education are our passions.  When we returned to the United States we began our careers, continued our education, and started a family.  We were blessed with one son, Jeffrey.

Half of my career was spent teaching business education, the other half was spent as the Executive Director of Technology at the district level.  I transitioned from classroom to administration working as a consultant to the IBM Corporation supporting their K-12 marketing team.  In 2003 I retired, Jim and I sold everything and we simply traveled for the next 2 years before settling in Punta Gorda in 2005.

I was introduced to yoga in Bocas del Toro, Panama by two women who owned the Om Café.  I found it peaceful, but not active enough as I had spent my entire adult life running at least 3 miles a day, 5 days a week.  It was after taking up tennis in 2007 that I damaged both knees.  After 3 surgeries for meniscus tears, I gave up running, but continued with tennis.

Bless The Yoga Sanctuary for offering a class called Yoga for Tennis with Margit Bannon.  After taking that class I was hooked on yoga.  Then I took a series of classes called Introduction to Yoga from Jennifer French.  I continued other workshops finding Ease with Down Dog extremely helpful.  I love Sunrise Yoga.  This is the perfect was to start my day.  It is a combination of strength training, stretching and balancing.  I also love Gentle Yoga which I try to attend after playing tennis.  I walk in sore and stiff and walk out feeling wonderful.  No matter what class I take, it seems that the instructors know what my body needs.  I feel that yoga has allowed me to continue playing tennis and remaining active.  The added benefit is the peace I feel upon entering and leaving The Yoga Sanctuary.  Yoga is the perfect way to begin or end my day.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.”  Author Unknown

Staff Spotlight—Margit Bannon

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I am bound for Helena, Montana for a yoga retreat I have wanted to attend for many years. As the retreat falls on my 40th Birthday, I wasn’t going to miss it this time. I come with my husband in tow, and I have made all of my preparations: my “out of office” email default has been set, luggage has been packed, and I have been practicing my yoga, most recently by reading the book Living your Yoga by Judith Lasater.

I have failed my first yoga test by taking too many articles of clothing. (My luggage weighs over 50 pounds.) After not being able to decide to “take only what I need,” I let it slide. After all, I am going to a colder mountainous climate where I will be hiking—and yes, it’s my birthday. I decide to let it go.

We drop off our car and get shuttled to the airport with just enough time—until we get stopped by a train and minutes become eternity. We get stuck at the ticket counter, having to wait a second eternity. Time keeps clicking away as all attendants are busy.

An idea comes to mind from my most recent reading: I am not special. My time is not more important than anyone else’s. We are only disappointed or stressed at times like these when we operate under the assumption that we are special. But we are all one and the same.

A couple with their son in line at security asks to go ahead of the entire line due to his severe food allergies and their need to get on the plane ahead of time to wipe down the seats. Are they special?

We board a brand new plane and are seated in “Comfort Plus” thanks to my husband’s last minute switch to an exit row that affords us much space as the row has both a window and an aisle seat. I feel special.

I spot the couple with the child with food allergies behind us and an announcement is made as we begin to ascend. “Please refrain from snacking due to a passenger’s peanut allergies.” It’s a four-hour flight.

My yoga practice has begun not even 15 minutes into our flight. What’s that saying? It’s all about the journey, not the destination?!

To follow my yogic journey through the eyes of a tennis and yoga instructor, please like my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/playtennispracticeyoga or follow me @playtennispracticeyoga on Instagram.

Yoga Sutra 1.14

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Skipping ahead a few sutras to yoga sutra 1.14, which states, Sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkarasevito drdhabhumih: Practice that is done for a long time, without break and with sincere devotion becomes a firmly rooted, stable, and solid foundation. This is an important aspect of yoga practice—discipline. Showing up to practice on a regular basis without break. The real benefits of the practice are revealed when we dedicate ourselves to the practice long-term.

Have you ever found yourself straying from yoga practice and a voice pops into your head telling you, “I really need to get back to yoga”? Or have you ever begun a meditation practice only to leave it within a few weeks (or days)? You are certainly not alone. Your body and mind know that yoga makes you feel good in so many ways. But in order to sustain these good feelings, the practice needs to be consistent. Some days you will find a million excuses not to show up to your mat. Show up anyway. Some days you will be too busy to practice. Practice for five minutes anyway.

Start small. Don’t set a huge expectation that you won’t be able to meet. Set a goal to do a few sun salutations every day. Or sit for a five-minute meditation each morning. Some days you will have more time, and your practice will naturally last longer. Other days, a short practice will be enough. More than anything, your commitment to come back to your mat regularly is what will make the most difference.