June 5, 2012

The Yoga of Good Housekeeping.

Photo: Mysid

Chop wood, load the dishwasher?

When it comes to dishes, are you the type who will leave your food-encrusted dishes piled high in the sink overnight and wait for your morning coffee to brew before you start cleaning? Or perhaps you jump from the table after the last forkful of dessert like a whirling dervish of the ammonia bottle, a cleaning tornado scrubbing until every last counter shines?

Are you aware of how you tend to chores? If you look closely, I guarantee you will find a ritual in everything from chopping an onion to emptying the dishwasher. These everyday rituals relate directly to your ability to shift, change and grow.

Photo: The Crystal Lake @Phuket,Thailand

In my life, when I started the arduous journey of self healing, the first task on the to-do list was to learn a new ritual of making the bed every day. Simple as this may seem to some, it was not easy to master. Now, twenty years later, the task has become second nature, yet the goal is to be present to this routine, fluffing the pillows with joy and gratitude for another great night’s sleep.

Before I travel, I dust, vacuum, change the sheets and wash the floors for the ghosts who will inhabit my space. Sashi the cat appreciates a clean place to sleep and I feel scattered and incomplete if the house is left in disorder.

Somewhere inside I hold a belief that the quality of my travel is dependent upon how well I vacuum. The more I travel, the more I realize that this ritual is not so much about the away time but rather the meditation I use in preparation to go.

According to the indigenous shamans, time is not a linear arrow but travels in a circular movement in all directions, backwards and forwards. This leads me to believe that the conscious acts we engage in before a spiritual retreat are every bit as important as coming home to a clean home waiting with open arms.

What does it mean to implement a yoga practice into your chores? According to the yogis, it is crucial that we bring our loving attention to every act. In readying yourself for a yoga retreat or spiritual gathering, it’s important to recognize that the gifts you take home begin with your preparation well beforehand.

Before you go to yoga, in your pre-class preparations, ask yourself: “What is my intention for this practice?”

The answer could be as simple as self-commitment or as complicated as de-stressing from your job or the care of aging parents. Either way, it is essential that you consciously begin your practice by setting an intention.

Once you are there (at a retreat or at home on your mat), it is crucial to be there. Being at a yoga retreat and thinking about the dirty dishes stacked in the sink back home will not help you engage in love. Love is an energy that is entirely experienced in the present moment. Therefore, it is important to clean the proverbial dish before leaving home. The simple act of preparation and intention will begin to shift your day—and inevitably, your life.

~ Editor: Lori Lothian

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