360-Degree Living

My teacher, Vishva-ji, often asks his students how they are feeling. We usually answer, “Pretty good”, and then he asks, “How good? 90 degrees? 180 degrees? Or 360 degrees?” This has always really stuck with me and inspired me to create a theme for my yoga retreat called “360-Degree Living”. I put it to the test this past weekend when I hosted a group of 18 women on a yoga and meditation getaway. My aim was to discuss how we could live more fully, embracing the full spectrum of our existence and all layers of our being rather than getting stuck in only a small part of our lives. Using many different tools, we discovered ways of deepening our awareness. From silent morning meditations outside at dawn as we welcomed the sun, to yoga sequences that explored the sheaths or “koshas” of our being, to chanting Sanskrit mantras, to crazy Bollywood dancing, to sweaty sun salutations, to frosty dips in the pool, to sharing meals together in silence and in chatter – we experienced living as fully as we could by slowing down and paying attention. We did this without the fast pace of our regular daily lives, and without the pressure of needing to be anywhere else.

We laughed, we cried, we sang, we danced. We walked in nature during the day under the warmth of the sun, and made our way in the darkness of the woods at night with the stars and candles to guide us. We opened up our hearts and felt love, joy, peace. We bravely delved into our thoughts and dared to look at how we sabotage our own happiness and sense of worth through negative self-talk, judgement, criticism, and denial. We agreed to follow the “Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz – to be impeccable with our Word; to not take anything personally; to not make assumptions; and to do our best at all times, knowing that “best” can change depending on how we are in any moment. We forgave ourselves, we challenged ourselves, we hugged ourselves (and each other!). We lived this weekend in 360 degrees of awareness…

As a facilitator, it is my job to hold this sacred space for others to experience transformation. But inevitably, I always come away transformed myself. I felt myself grow along with these wonderful women who put their faith and trust in me. I witnessed beauty and grace unfold before me as smiles broadened, shoulders relaxed, voices belted out OMs, and walls came down…To be part of this growth was an honour and it continues to strengthen my belief in our universal connection to one another.

Fast forward to today – back at the office, back in the traffic, back in routine, back in noise. The idyllic environment we left might be a fading memory very soon BUT we are armed with new tools, strategies, and reminders to embrace every single day with a 360-degree lens so as not to miss a single thing – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the sun, the moon, the small, the large, the infinite.

Deepak Chopra suggests doing a re-cap at the end of every day, reviewing what you did, felt, saw, and experienced…then you let it go. I like this strategy and have been putting it into practice – part of living fully is also being able to let things go, so we can have space to face the next day of infinite possibilities and potentialities. Vishva-ji has similar advice –  through meditation, empty the “folders” of your mind like cleaning up your computer and do regular “virus scans” to get rid of toxic thoughts. The result (which I am feeling more and more) is clarity of mind, sense of purpose, depth of feeling, and connection to your true blissful nature. So the next time he asks just HOW good am I feeling, I will open my arms wide and say with certainty and pride,  “360 degrees”

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5 Comments

  1. Kathy Noel said,

    October 1, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Beautifully written. You’re such a gift Daya. Keep sharing.

  2. johnstubbs8 said,

    October 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Bravo!

  3. Lisa said,

    October 1, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    I loved being part of the 360 degree experience with you, Anne. I hope to carry this feeling on far beyond the blissful weekend! 😉

  4. Nancy Lowry said,

    October 2, 2014 at 6:48 am

    The photo says it all! 360 degrees indeed!

  5. G said,

    October 3, 2014 at 5:55 am

    Love it. You made me smile.
    Maybe we can add 360 to your name .
    Nice photo on the rock.


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