By Lauren Raffaela Piccolo
The wise man lets go of all
results, whether good or bad,
and is focused on the action alone.
Yoga is skill in actions * [2.50]
In the hectic lives that we all tend to lead, it may feel at moments that there is just not enough time in the day or week to get everything accomplished. We all have our individual to-do lists that are essential towards maintaining our wellbeing. Such lists may include balancing a daily yoga and meditation practice, preparing meals in a healthful manner, raising a family, having a full time job, sustaining meaningful relationships with friends, giving time to ones hobbies, exploring new passions and as you can imagine, the list goes on and on. All of these things are fundamental towards defining who we are and how we give of ourselves to those around us and greater society.
Yet, what about those moments or periods when it feels like too much? I can imagine many of us have faced that heavy feeling, waking up at the crack of dawn to stumble towards the meditation cushion and in a half-slumber, the question may arise, “is this worth it? What are the pros and cons of taking a seat on the mat in this exhausted state, or rather, going back to bed?” Or maybe in another instance, you have fixed an appointment to meet a friend whom you haven’t seen in a while but then the day comes and you feel overwhelmed or tired and you know it will be a struggle for you to make it. At the same time, you don’t want to cancel in fear that your friend will be let down. What do you do?
The reality is that there are no correct answers on how to handle these situations – whether you sat to meditate or went back to bed, or whether you ended up seeing your friend or not, what becomes important to bring awareness to is: were you present in the decision that you made?
When faced with a seemingly endless to-do list, it is easy to become lost in simply performing the action itself, especially during periods when one is overworked and functioning on little sleep. What yoga and meditation practices can offer are tools that help us become aware of that inner-voice, the one that urges us to slow down, even if just temporarily. In taking a break from the to-do list and tuning in to our body (physical being), mind (psychological being) and soul (spiritual being), we can connect with our true nature and give nourishment to the essential parts of ourselves that need attention.
And while to-do lists help us create our daily rhythm and sense of purpose, the reassuring reality is that the meditation cushion will still be there tomorrow morning; and that friend of yours, well if they a compassionate person, will feel empathy towards your need to reschedule.
At the Barcelona Yoga Conference there will be endless moments to tap into and get to know that inner or as I like to call it “belly voice”. Yoga and meditation practices are perfect opportunities to tune into our instinctual Selves. Such moments may arise at BYC during a yoga practice when a teacher reads out a quote that speaks directly to you, or maybe during a savasana (final rest) when your body and mind are enjoying a relaxed state you may feel something shift inside. With so many types of practices being offered at BYC this summer – such as dynamic yoga, Iyengar, Bhakti and Kurtan, meditation, acro and dance – take the chance to clear the mind and get to know your inner voice. See what happens when you listen in and let your belly do the talking.
*Bhagavad Gita, trans. by Stephen Mitchell (HarperCollins: New York, 2000), p.55.