I realized that I did the same thing around this time last year, just before heading off to Dominica for my yoga adventure. It must be in the air at the start of a new year to feel pure! ;) I miss the Caribbean this time around, and with all that's happening in Haiti right now, I send my purest intentions from my detox week to the island.
In a non-physical sense, it's also a great time to detox the mind and emotions. Last week, with the new moon, I found myself becoming over-emotional and a bit overwhelmed with expectations on myself and others. Why do we do this? We can't help it. As Pema Chodron says, we must "not resist, grasp, or get caught up in hope and in fear, in good and in bad, but actually live completely. " This means, embracing it all. The ups and downs and the challenges in our path, as well as the fabulous and fun times. Physically detoxing has allowed me to remember how easily we can become addicted to habits. And then how these habits lead us to emotional addictions as well. We all deal with them. And yet we all learn at some point in life that it's okay not to have things turn out our way.
I see it in my students this time of year, too. Everyone wants to reach a new ideal in their practice. Physical perfection of the poses. Straining every day to come to the mat and "fit it in." All the while, worrying about the semester ahead, or the new work schedule, or those pesky resolutions that we so urgently want to achieve. But what we forget is that each time we step on the mat is time for renewal. For letting go of all that stuff and just to be. There. At that moment. Imperfect and all.
More Pema Chodron wisdom and encouragement to keep practicing your yoga and meditation...
"You can also realize that, at a time like this, when there's so much chaos and crisis and suffering in the world, we are actually needed. Individuals who are willing to wake up and make friends with themselves are going to be very beneficial, because they can work with others, they can hear what people are saying to them, and they can come from the heart and be of use."
*There are tons of options around to give some support to Haiti. Tomorrow, Jan. 23rd there are 2 Yoga opportunities:
-My friend, Checka, is teaching a benefit class at Yoga in the Square in Somerville (Davis Sq., above The Burren) from 1-2:15pm. It will be an all levels vinyasa class for only $5, in which all proceeds go to Haiti.
-Also tomorrow, Exhale (in Boston, green line to Arlington) will be donating all of their class proceeds to Haiti through the Red Cross.
-At Karma Yoga Studio, we're planning something for the near future to step in as well. I'll keep ya posted!