Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Skillful Living

“Yoga has also been described as wisdom in work or skillful living amongst activities, harmony and moderation.
‘Yoga is not for him who gorges too much, nor for him who starves himself. It is not for him who sleeps too much, nor for him who stays awake. By moderation in eating and in resting, by regulation in working and by concordance in sleeping and waking, Yoga destroys all pain and sorrow.’”
-B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, seventh paragraph of the Introduction.

Only a person who is awake can do what is outlined in the above quote. I think it might be easier to act compulsively by overeating and overdrinking than it is to actually enjoy the right amount. A person has to be actively engaged in the activity to moderate it correctly. We can't just do what we did last time, always. Life lived in this way is on autopilot.

I have fasted. I have binged. I have gone without sleep. I have overslept. I have been a workaholic... So I guess you could say that I am the best (really the worst) person to respond to this quote. There is no halfway on this one for me because I'm the worst offender.

I hate boundaries and detest limits. I just want to run free. I don’t want anyone to tell me what to do! And yet I have also found parameters to be helpful. Like it’s nice to go to a yoga class where a teacher defines what we are doing in class. And in this definition some poses and actions must be left out—because yoga is so vast. So when it comes to my mind I don’t want limits, but as I live in space and time limits, choices and moderation are necessary to live life effectively. This ensures that we can get and give the right amount, instead of just waiting for whatever life might dish up for you. We can end up a bit lost with a passive attitude. Life is active. Life requires choosing. Life requires defining.

But, the above quote is a real bugger for me because I resist it. I mean, it certainly SEEMS like a good idea. But a part of me doesn’t want to moderate my activities. I just want to have fun. It is HARD to stop what I’m doing and say okay: what is the right amount? Is this the right thing? If I have a box of cookies in my house I want to eat them. I’m going to eat them eventually, anyway… So why not get them out of the house now.

I do best when I have a plan about what I am eating. When I do I don’t even have the cookies in the house. But when I’m listening to my craving—yep, I want those cookies. I want all of them.


YogaforCynics said...

I hear you about the cookies thing--I have an out of control sweet tooth, and find I can only buy sweets in single serving portions since, otherwise, I'll eat the whole box of cookies before I go to bed. So, while, certainly, it's wise to acknowledge that weakness and not bring home boxes of cookies, it would be far better to be able to buy a box of cookies and be able not to binge out...

Grace said...

I relate to this post. I've been thinking about food and yoga lately as well. If there are sweets in the house, i have to have them. I don't eat a whole box of cookies, but I overeat them for me. Last week my hubby actually hid the chocolate on me (he buys it in bulk!). I searched for it! He hid it because I always tell him to and for once he listened. But I still knew it was in the house and so the cravings where still there. I could think nothing else. Is this a problme I need to fix, or just the way I am?

Brenda P. said...

Well, you know what they say: Moderation in all things (especially moderation).

Twizzlers are my downfall.