Daily assignments for living the yogi’s life with Kino MacGregor.
To check A Week of Self Reflection, click here.
To check A Week of Acknowledgements, click here.
To check A Week of Internal Peace, click here.
To check A Week of Contentment, click here.
To check A Week of Healing, click here.
To check A Week of Gentle Action, click here.
To check A Week of Self care, click here.
To check A Week of Surrender, click here.
We are all wounded, we have all suffered. There is no one who is free from the inevitable pains of life but that doesn’t mean our spirits aren’t bright. While it might be tempting to lock down in the face of hardship and fight back against hurt, the yoga path leads down a different path. Yoga asks you to trust that everything is going to be okay, to trust that you are strong enough to handle whatever comes your way.
Trust begins with recognizing your own basic goodness, a goodness that exceeds the stumbles and falls. Place your faith in the highest truth within yourself and then let that be your rock. Place your faith in the material world and you will be let down every single time.
Today’s yogi assignment is trust. Ask yourself if you are trustworthy, if you can count on yourself. Look towards the inner world and discover the only real thing that is worthy of your trus—the highest and most pure divine self. Orient your awareness to the truth contained within and instead of external standards or judgements you will be so solid in your authenticity that you’ll know without a doubt what it means to truly trust yourself. Trust that you are okay, that you are whole and complete, that you are strong enough. Trust that you are worthy of love.
Knowledge is power, but limited knowledge can also be a trap. What you think you “know” may in fact only be a partial view of the whole story and sometime it’s hard to navigate the murky territory between knowledge and judgement. The only thing that I’m set on is that I’ll never actually have all the answers, see the full picture and have the omniscience to know it all.
Life for me is about humility and surrender. I believe that it is possible for every single person to have a transcendent experience of the highest self within and that those moments of intimate connection with God are what life is really about.
Today’s yogi assignment is ignorance. Called Avidya in Sanskrit, it is the lack of knowledge of the true self that is considered to be the root of all suffering and the main obstacle on the spiritual path. Avidya can also take shape as ignorance, the unwillingness to see, admit or recognize the truth when it is revealed to you.
Sometimes we hold onto knowledge in the effort to build up a false sense of self, to be “somebody” in the eyes of the world. Today rest in the purity of your true self and say the words, “I don’t know”. Not knowing doesn’t make you any less of a person, instead it makes you exactly who you are. Realizing that you don’t have to have all the answers is like letting a huge burden off your shoulders. Instead of trying to prove yourself, just be yourself.
There is a pain I feel when my alarm goes off at 5 am. I accept it. There is a pain that I feel burning in my abs and thighs when I hold Navasana for longer than usual. I accept it. There is a pain that I feel when because of an injury I have to modify my practice and take it easy. I accept it. I do not run away from it.
How we each define pain is simultaneously a semantic discussion and a personal experience. Each person has a different pain threshold and a different level of sensitivity in their bodies and simply saying that we should never feel pain when we practice disregards the highly personal journey of body awareness. As a general rule during your practice, pain around the joints should be avoided, but even that cannot be so universally applied because not everyone can actually feel their joints when they practice.
Today’s yogi assignment is pain. Called Dukha in Sanskrit, yoga philosophy says that human beings have a tendency to seek pleasure and avoid pain and that this cycle is a large part of why we suffer. Yoga offers a path out of that darkness through the cultivation of the strong, equanimous mind that is not disturbed by the inevitable fluctuations between pleasure and pain, attachment and aversion. Along these lines, saying that you should never feel pain in yoga misses the point—it’s well-intended but not exactly right. It’s like when I was sixteen years old and a boyfriend broke up with me and my dad told me, “Sweetheart, you should never have your heart broken.” While a perfect world without pain or broken hearts seems to be attractive, it is neither real nor authentic in my opinion. Your heart has to be broken for you to know what it truly means to love. You cannot spend your life running from heartbreak or pain because suffering is a basic fact of life. Running away from pain is a false belief that you can actually keep all the pain away with your own efforts.
Surrendering to the small pains of the yoga practice teaches you a spiritual lesson in how to respond to painful and difficult moments in your life.
4. Shine bright.
Let the whole world laugh at you. Let them doubt you, ignore you, try to disprove you. It doesn’t matter if you love what you do and you own your truth. You don’t turn a lamp on and put it in a closet, you let it shine. Because really who are you not to?
Today’s yogi assignment is shine bright. Imagine if the sun decided not to rise because people complained that it was too hot. Imagine if apple trees stopped producing fruit because they overheard someone say that oranges were better. Imagine if a sunflower decided not to bloom because someone said its stalk was dangerously too high. Ridiculous. So who are you not to rise up and do exactly what you were put here to do? Embrace your true self. Be fierce. Be fearless.
5. Don’t worry!
No amount of worrying will ever change a situation and no amount of stressing out ever solved a problem. Worry, stress and anxiety only make things worse. Thinking that you can control all the details of the grand orchestra of life is a false hubris that leads to an emotional dead end. Instead of control, surrender. Trust that you will have exactly what you need, not what you want but what you truly need. It will not always be easy, but it always works out in your best interest in the long run, even if it’s not according to your plan.
Today’s yogi assignment is don’t worry. Let tomorrow worry about tomorrow, keep your mind and heart present today. As long as you’re operating from the mindset that you have to hold all the pieces of your life together, then you’re blocking yourself off from receiving the biggest gift of all—grace. Don’t sweat the small stuff or the big stuff. Leave sweating for the yoga mat and enjoy your life. No matter what happens, don’t worry. If you miss a flight, flunk a test, get fired, get sick, have your heart broken, go bankrupt, get injured, get bad news, suffer loss of any kind—don’t worry, it will all be ok, you are ok.
How you see the world determines what kind of world you live in. You can stay boxed up in preconceived notions of the truth and your world will shrink and collapse in on itself. Expand your horizons, shift the box of comfortable a little each day. Do something crazy. Change the way you see things—if you look down while walking on the street, look up, if you always take the same route, try a different one.
Today’s yogi assignment is perspective. Scrub off the lens of perception and see the world fresh with new eyes. Rediscover the ordinary at every turn because you never know what magic awaits you.
Who you are is defined by the small moments of your life. How you treat one person is how you treat everyone. Every single person is worth your time—the taxi driver, the waitstaff, the cleaners, the check-in agent, your accountant, your lawyer, your yoga teacher, your car sales man, a police officer, a fireman, the President, a famous actor. Don’t wait for someone fabulous to be nice. Be nice to everyone because in the eyes of spirit we are all equal.
Today’s yogi assignment is friendliness. Called Maitri in Sanskrit, cultivating at attitude of friendliness changes your world to a more peaceful place. Take time to get to know everyone in your life because no one is put there randomly. Ask questions, listen with an open and curious heart. If you could see yourself through the eyes of spirit then you would know without a doubt that we are all stars, that we are all worthy of love, that we all deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.
Be friendly to everyone you meet today. Share a smile and it might change someone’s day. Don’t save up your kindness for someone special because everyone is special—everyone is a spiritual being looking for love and you might just be the divine messenger of a healing gift today.
Author: Kino MacGregor
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Agathe Padovani