The second of the yoga sutras, 1.2, translates to “yoga is the effort towards steadying the waves of the mind”. I guess I should say, this is the translation I like best. Again, there are many interpretations of these simple words but I like this one because of the word effort. The practice of yoga doesn’t mean you have steadied the mind but that you are at least trying.
Making an Effort
There is so much good to be done for our own well-being as well as the well-being of others. It doesn’t matter what you endeavor to change or improve rather that you are making an effort to do something. Making an effort is exactly that, work, effort, fighting against inertia. Change, transformation, yoga practice, gaining a new skill, volunteering, being a good parent, well you get the idea, these are all examples of effort. Yoga practice is a microcosm of ones life. People sometimes say to me, “I love it when my yoga practice feels good, when I am calm, centered and am not dealing with injuries. I hate it when my yoga practice is hard, when my mind keeps wondering, or when I am injured”. The irony is that we need our yoga practice much more when our lives are not comfortable, when we are in distracted by injuries or problems with work or family. The less centered we feel, the more we need to practice. The more we need the effort towards steadying the mind.
Traveling and Vrittis
Traveling throughout Mexico has been full of extremes. Last night, I was finishing my post; So much to say, so much to do, when I heard my son, Deven, in the bathroom. The post was filled with all the joy I had been experiencing. Deven was vomiting into what he thought was the toilet but was actually the bathroom floor. He was covered with it and the bed he left was also covered. The poor little guy had picked up a bug and was incredibly feverish and sick. Needless to say, the joy and convening with nature slipped persipitously into fear, “did he have food poisoning???”, fatigue, and yuck, there was puke everywhere. By daybreak, every towel, blanket and sheet was on the floor in a heap. Luckily, Deven woke up feeling much better and began to recover quickly with some fluids and time in bed with some games on my phone. We have been mostly electronics-free this whole trip. He definately had a rough night and deserved a treat.
Next, more Fear and Some Anxiety Too
We decided I would drive into the city we were near, Villahermosa, to find a lavandaria ( laundramat) to get all of our stuff washed. Steven would stay with the boys. Dylan was starting to feel unwell too. Great. I asked around and got various suggestions and sketchy directions. Now, driving in Mexico can be terrifying at the best of times. Steven has been doing all the driving of the RV and I felt incredibly safe and secure with him at any wheel. I on the other hand, was a bit out of practice and, this was not the best of times. In fact, it was pouring rain, my old girl, a 1985 Cabriolet, has a leaky roof and not so great tires. I got lost a couple times, stopped to ask directions, got lost again and almost got hit by a semi. Then, I finally found it. We are already a day behind schedule. I needed to get back to the border to fly home for teacher training. I begged and pleaded the lovely ladies to get all of our stuff done tonight. I also tipped them lavishly!
I can’t tell you how terrifying AND empowering this was. Talk about extremes. Most importantly, I tried to at least to breath. I had to make an effort to steady my mind. I was still concerned about Deven, and also needed to get back safe and sound myself. I almost got stuck in a huge puddle which came up to the bottom of the doors of the car. It was still pouring rain. Well, I made it back and everyone was still feeling not so great however, we were in a safe place and will hopefully be back on the road tomorrow.
Although not a conventional yoga practice, I am getting some work done, keeping the boys well hydrated and comfortable, and resting myself. Yoga is not just what I do on the mat but it comes in handy when I am lost, driving in the rain, or being thrown up on. Don’t get me wrong, life is good. Life is good not despite of these things but because of them. Peace, Mimi
This path doesn’t always hug the ridge tops; it often falls into deep canyons, sometimes moves along the waterways, across the valleys, deserts, and the tall peaks of your inner self. Its direction may not always seem clear as you venture into the wilderness within. -Charles Breaux