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.
To check A Week of Loving Kindness, click here.
To check A Week of Focus, click here.
To check A Week of Love, click here.
Busy-ness is addictive. It has an inertia that draws more and more activity into its swirling vortex and it feels impossible to stop. If you have this affliction, then your most common answer to the question of how you’re doing is one word: busy!
Today’s yogi assignment is busy-ness. This heightened state of arousal almost always means our nervous system is jacked up and the idea of relaxing, dropping down and tuning in seems impossible. But just under surface of all this busy-ness is often one big busy-mess: emotions that we’d rather not feel and physical issues like injury, pain, sickness. No matter how fast your world spins, nor how busy you really are, it is your life and you have a choice. It is your desire that fuels the fire, all you have to do is stop long enough for the breath to melt away some of your emotional armor. All you have to do is be strong enough to face what you’re running away from.
2. Field of the body.
I spent years of my life wishing to be taller, dreaming that my legs would magically elongate and lengthen, pinching my thighs together to see what they’d look like smaller. People have told me that my body is round, my butt is flat, my arms are too buff, my face is old, my boobs are too small, my abs too soft, my hair too bleeched, my eyes covered in too much mascara.
Whatever. Let them say what they want. I’m just me. And I love my body. But it took me nearly a decade of consistent yoga practice before I could actually say that I love my body, that I love myself beyond the body.
You are not your body, our true home is in the spirit world. The practice is a gateway to the inner experience of the infinite self within. The best thing about the body is that it is a field of experience through which you can feel and perceive the depths of yourself and the world. Once you touch the depth and power of true self, all the obstacles to freedom melt away. The only thing there is left is love.
Today’s yogi assignment is the field of the body. Kurukshetra, in the story of the Gita, is the field of the epic battle of the Mahabharata and symbolises the spiritual battlefield of every yogi’s struggle where the body is ground zero for the tests faced along the inner path. Accessing the inner body means accessing the deepest state of meditative awareness in your yoga practice. Look inside your body, you might just discover a whole universe in there.
I always thought I was too hyper to meditate, calm was not a state that I ever really experienced before yoga. But the mind is like a muscle—it can be trained. I sit in meditation practice for between five and twenty minutes every day. I have done that for the last 12 years of my life. The only time I stopped was when I needed it the most, when a period of depression took me down darker than I have ever been before. The first step out of that darkness began with reclaiming those few moments of silent inner connection each day.
Today’s yogi assignment is meditation, Dhyana. One of the eight limbs of the Ashtanga Yoga method, the practice of concentrating the mind and stilling the mental waves is a timeless practice.Meditation starts with concentration. Stillness is a skill that you can cultivate. A strong mind is your most powerful tool. As little as five minutes a day can change you life. Start today.
4. Letting go.
Most things are beyond our control. Especially the things we really want, the desires we’re most attached to, those are all out of our control.
What do you do when faced with by an impossible situation? You can quit and walk away and be left with a feeling of defeat or you can learn to surrender. The difference between surrender and quitting is a matter of faith. Quitting is a depressing state that drags you down and can sometimes stem from the belief that world is against you or that you have failed. Surrendering is a relinquishing of the false notion of the ego’s power and a letting go and trusting the true power of God.
Today’s yogi assignment is letting go. Next time you’re faced with a problem in your life try this: turn over the control to God. Let go, but do not quit or harbor any resentment. Pray, ask for guidance and wait for the answer. Do not try to fix it, take no action from a state of ego, let nothing get you down emotionally, remain equanimous. When you get a clear sign then accept the answer you get and find meaning in it, even if it means you have to start the journey of whatever it is you’re working on all over again. Sometimes your greatest strength is in letting go, walking away and turning it over. Sometimes there is nothing left to do but breathe.
After my first 10 day meditation retreat the world looked brand new. I felt like a new person. That doesn’t mean that every person immediately validated the change and related to this “new” person I became. One of the most frustrating things on the spiritual path is the delay response between the subtle inner shifts and material world. It can be painful to see the cycles of suffering that your old patterns have caused and feel stuck there even after climbing mountains within.
Zen teacher Suzuki Roshi says that spiritual practice remains incomplete if we desire to stay at the top of the “flagpole.” Once we reach the top of the 100 foot flagpole that epitomizes the peak of spiritual experiences, we have to jump off. This vacillation between the soaring heights and the gritty world below is meant to deepen our understanding of both the inner path and its integration with the material world.
Today’s yogi assignment is integration. It takes strength and steadiness to hold true to the new patterns while standing in the midst of a swirling vortex initiated in the past. In many ways, the true test happens when we try and integrate those lessons in our normal life life. Once you experience the deepest level of truth you are forever changed and going back to your old ways simply isn’t an option. You will find it necessary to live your life according to a new and higher sense of alignment. Small things—folding the clothes properly, doing the dishes, sweeping the floor—suddenly matter. Every single human interaction matters. Every word spoken in love heals. Every thought held in love is a bridge. Every act done in love is devotion. Life is love in action.
I woke up extra early this morning to practice before my class. When my alarm when off I desperately wanted to hit snooze but I got up because I know that those 10 minutes on my mat are worth more than 10 minutes on the pillow.
Taking time for yourself can be hard, but you have to do it. The busier you get the more it seems like there is no time to take care of yourself but even five minutes a day for yourself and there is suddenly time for everything else.
Today’s yogi assignment is self-care. There is a fine line between self-care and selfishness. Some people will give and give until they break and other people will always put themselves first no matter what. Find the narrow road between these two extremes: make enough time for yourself to recharge, but be willing to give and sacrifice when it’s needed. Identify what your spiritual needs are and then prioritize those moments of restoration.
For me silence and solitude are healing and if I don’t have a few moments of total quiet each day I tend to go a little crazy. Every moment of exhaustion is a cry of the soul. Every traffic jam is a spiritual problem. Do your practice every day so that you’re strong enough never to not lose sight of your center as the world spins around you.
7. Be happy.
I used to think I would be happy one day when I got everything I wanted, one day when I ticked off all the boxes on my bucket list. But the list just keeps growing and there is always some new desire.
If you base your happiness in an accumulation of material possessions or worldly achievements they will eventually leave you empty. The endless quest for the momentary happiness from the material world is like an addictive cycle of searching for the next big thing. It always feel like we’re just around the corner of some big breakthrough that we have to keep striving for. True happiness is a decision to embrace yourself and your life exactly as they are, a choice to let love win against all odds, to see the beam of light shining trough the darkness.
Today’s yogi assignment is happiness. Nothing in this world completes you. You are already whole and pure in the eyes of spirit. You are a spiritual being with boundless energy. You have everything you need. Stop the struggle. Relax. Breathe. Be happy.
Author: Kino MacGregor
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Karri Verna/Instagram