For the past 6 months, I have had the unbelievable opportunity to work with the Africa Yoga Project as a mentor to a teacher trainee in Nairobi Africa. Each month I find myself in my kitchen in Stamford, CT Skyping with my mentee who is sitting in the Shine Center in Nairobi Kenya. It is pretty amazing that we are literally across the world from each other but find ourselves face-to-face discussing the various themes and sharing our experiences of teaching and practicing yoga, as well as getting to know about our lives and families. Each month, there is a short list of themes that we are given the opportunity to explore and talk about.
Many of these themes, are ones that I have seen before at my Level 1 Power Yoga teacher training with Baron Baptiste last summer and during a program I participated in last year called “40 Days to Personal Revolution”. The two themes for this month have made me begin to think and explore more about myself. They are “Equanimity” and “Drop what you know”, both intertwined with each other. I wanted to approach these themes with a fresh pair of eyes so I started by looking up the definition of equanimity.
Equanimity – “Having an even mind; mental calmness; evenness of temper especially in a difficult situation.” – Web dictionary
Equanimity – “The art of meeting life as it meets you, calmly without drama, without fuss” – Baron Baptisite, 40 Days to Personal Revolution
Well, turns out, not much soul searching needed here. I really lack Equanimity. Mental calmness is sooooo hard for me. I react to everything, my kids, traffic, too much noise, not enough noise, clutter; you name it I can react to it. I react to things simply because the world is not how I want it to be. So I try to control my world. Control makes me feel safe. But it’s a false sense of security; because, I know I cant really control my world.
So when preparing for my outdoor yoga class last night (May 30th) asked myself what it was I wanted to relay and how I wanted to change my own perspective. My practice this month is this, to drop what I know, to drop the need and the belief that I can control my world. This is my choice, I can continue on with mental craziness and holding on to what I think I know for dear life or I can practice. I can practice not reacting. I can practice breathing in the calmness and exhaling the craziness and control out. I can start listening, not only to the sounds but to what happens in my body during daily situations. I can make a change, slow my breath, slow my heartbeat, listen, feel and then move from a place of peace, calmness. Way easier said than done but just acknowledging and getting into action and “being a yes for possibility” as Baron Baptiste would say, gives me an overwhelming feeling of happiness and ease.
Imagine dropping what you know, and letting go of the need to be in control or the need to be right. Many times what we think we know keeps us stuck in a pattern of bad choices, bad behaviors and does us no good at all.
So, this is my plan, stop reacting, and start listening, and move in situations from a place where I know nothing. Be ok with not being in control and always take a deep breath.