Lately I’ve been pre-occupied with spreadsheets, account balancing, advertising, networking, and ongoing trips to the print shop. I knew that the biz side of this little yoga venture of mine would take up more of my time and I was psyching myself up to deal with a huge pile of administrative projects. But the interesting thing is that I’m not stressed, I’m not overloaded, I’m not disorganized. In fact, I feel content and happy and on-the-ball. I feel inspired, creative, and focused on what needs to be done. In tending to my little business with mindfulness and present-moment attention, my work is getting done. And what is at the core of it all is the wisdom of YOGA.
More and more I’m feeling that the seeds I’ve been planting and nurturing in myself all these years through yoga have sprouted and are growing. There is a depth of “knowingness” about myself that I am feeling more often, and this understanding is guiding me in what I think is the right direction. Sure, there are still weeds that sprout up, too, and it’s a never-ending job taking care of those ones that have deep roots. But an inner voice keeps reminding me of the key principles of the yoga tradition as outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras – AHIMSA (non-harming), SATYA (truthfulness), ASTEYA (non-stealing), BRAHMACHARYA (continence), APARIGRAHA (non-grasping), SAUCHA (purity), SANTOSHA (contentment), TAPAS (discipline), SVADHYAYA (self-study), ISHVARA PRANIDHANA (surrender to God). As much as I’m trying to apply this to my day-to-day life, I am also trying to apply it to my business.
I can only imagine how ancient yogis would look in dismay upon our yoga business today…We could say, “Ya but that was a totally different time and culture” and argue that today’s yoga has evolved to meet the needs of our technologically-driven stressed out “more-is-better” society. While I believe yoga is needed so desperately these days, it has to be something other than just a once-a-week attendance in a class, and something deeper than a yoga pose selfie. It has to be a day-to-day LIVING in awareness and a commitment to BEING all those things that we strive so hard to be – kind, compassionate, loving, patient, forgiving, trusting…Can we bring these qualities to our work life? Can we show up daily and do our jobs with guidance and trust from within? Can we discover our DHARMA – our purpose in life – without being so driven by the mistaken idea that we MUST have or CAN have IT (whatever IT is…) all?
I’m reminded of the wise advice of Narvada Puri Mataji, a beautiful life-long yogi I met in India at the Shri Santosh Puri Ashram who has sinced passed away. When asked what she thought about living a yogic life in today’s world, she simply said “Just live it”. Again we could say, “Ya but it’s not so easy…” and the truth is, it is damn hard at times. But she also said that in the West, people are the VICTIMS of their own suffering whereas the spiritual are MASTERS of suffering. So to be a master in your craft, your job, your life, you have to take the ups and the downs, let go of the clinging to MORE and be present with what IS.
Back to work now…I have a papers to file, a desk to organize, and emails to answer. But as I mind my own business with skill, care, and wisdom (and take a break now and then to breathe…), I know that this work day, like any day, is simply another yoga practice.
“Do your daily duty, and let the rest go. Poke away systematically at your little calling. Tend the garden a little bit every day. You do not have to exhaust yourself with great acts. Show up for your duty, for your dharma. Then let it go.” – Stephen Cope, “The Great Work of Your Life”
Photo by Michelle Lachance