Rox Does Yoga

Yoga, Wellness, and Life

Let’s explore that annoyance March 28, 2011

Filed under: reflections,yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 9:38 pm
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So, the carpet + dog hair + sticky mat issue at the yoga studio (which I mentioned last week) really is driving me nuts.  In the interest of exploring my reactions, getting to know my brain better, and nurturing my yoga lifestyle, I thought to myself, what exactly is it about this situation that’s so maddening? Well, first, I just got this nice new yoga mat, and it happens to be super sticky, so it’s getting all gunked up with hair and crud. Now I cannot use my nice new yoga mat at home, because my father in law is deathly allergic to dogs and we try not to bring animal hair into our home, plus I don’t want to transport this gunk to my floors at home, so I am still using my old mat at home and I only get to use the nice new mat at the studio, where I look at it and don’t feel excited about my nice mat, only annoyed about the ick issue.  I tried the lint roller but it’s just not sufficient for the level of stickiness combined with the level of gunk. So I feel annoyed, and further, I feel indignant – like, why can’t you have hardwood instead of carpet, how often do you vacuum this carpet anyway, why do bring your stupid dogs to the studio – at which point I get derailed, because that isn’t fair, they are nice dogs, N & J are entitled to run their business however they want, there may be any number of reasons why the studio is carpeted, and everyone leaves their shoes by the door so they are at least trying to keep the floor clean. So really what I am feeling is helpless, because I am experiencing a problem and I have no way to resolve that problem (the mat is gross, I can’t effectively clean it, and I can’t change the place where I bring the mat).

But, you know, that’s not really true either. I could vacuum the heck out of the mat when I got it home. I could take that sucker in the shower and hose it off. That would just involve a lot more time than I’m willing to invest in bi-weekly mat care. OK, then, if I cleaned it really well once then I could switch and take the old mat to the studio and use the nice one at home. Which I don’t really want to do either, because (1) the time to spend to get the thing actually clean, and (2) I don’t want to be limited to not using my good mat for the majority of my yoga practice. But I do have options – I just don’t want to explore any of these options. So now I am at the point where I need to either find another option (like buying a second nice mat to use at home) or accepting that the current situation is not going to change for the duration of this program. This should make me feel better: at least now I have considered all my options and concluded that I am not helpless, it is my choice to perpetuate the current situation, and there is a specific time when the problem will end.  But if I choose this last option, that of acceptance, then I need to be at peace about the cleanliness of the mat. Period. I’ll lint-roll it periodically to keep from getting gunk on my feet, but other than that, peace. So why does that seem like the hardest option of all?

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I’m having an Ahimsa Moment

Filed under: reflections,yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 9:35 pm
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Today I had a lot of “Ahimsa Moments.”  Here are some examples:

I hate this stupid weather, it’s too cold out – Ahimsa.
Why is the train so crowded? Oh no, don’t sit next to me… – Ahimsa.
Great, every person on this elevator needs to stop on a different floor, we’re getting a grand freakin’ tour of the building – Ahimsa.
Man, why is it so cold in here today? – Ahimsa.
Yes, Figure 1 is on the first page, but if you’d looked at pages 2 and 3 you’d have found Figures 2 and 3 and not had to ask me this stupid question – Ahimsa.
I’m sending you the art to review. Not like I think you’ll actually review it any time this week. – Ahimsa.
WHY is it so COLD in here?! – Ahimsa.
All these emails, I never get anything done! – Ahimsa.
We’re all here waiting for the train, you don’t need to push – hey, watch it, jerkface – Ahimsa!
Yes, I’m eating pizza for dinner, so there. – Ahimsa.
ACK, I always leave everything to the last minute! – Ahimsa.
I hate getting stuck behind a bus, I’m going to be late! – Ahiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimsa.
I HATE this stupid carpet, it’s like a dog hair magnet, why can’t they have hardwood floors like any other yoga studio – Ahimsa.
Thanks, dude, if you’re going to come in late to class at least shut the door behind you – Ahimsa, ahimsa, ahimsa.

And that’s just a quick survey.  I got cheesed off by so many more trivial things today I can’t even count them all.  And now that I’m trying to pay more attention to my thought patterns, it seems like I’m getting annoyed or frustrated or mad even more than usual.  I know that’s not true (it’s just that noticing it calls more attention to it), but it’s actually still a little scary: this is how my brain usually works, and I experience this level of frustration on a daily basis. I’m not sure how to effect a change. I want to change. I’m hoping that for now, noticing the pattern and calling myself on it will be enough to start.

 

Practical Experiments in Ahimsa and Satya

Filed under: reflections,yoga lifestyle,yoga philosophy — R. H. Ward @ 12:58 pm
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Nischala Devi writes the following:

We may stubbornly hold the belief that others cause our problems and inconveniences.  In those situations we may appoint ourselves as their teachers to show them the correct way to act. From that attitude our egos enlarge, leaving us with less room for insight.  If you routinely feel it is the other person’s fault, take another look, this time from a different perspective.  (171)

Reading this really hit home for me because I had a difficult situation last week in my job. Because of all the thinking I’ve been doing on ahimsa and satya, this situation really stuck out to me as an example of how I can change my thinking, how consciously practicing satya and ahimsa (truthfulness and non-violence) can help me to be a calmer person (and a better colleague!).

I work as an editor and project manager, compiling large complex medical books.  I received the page proofs of a chapter that had been very difficult to assemble: the author constantly changing the artwork, which had an adverse affect on the artist’s time to draw the rest of the book; the book’s editor hiring a photographer to reshoot all the surgical images without telling me, sending me many new photos to process after I thought the chapter was done.  Now all that was over and the chapter was in proofs, but because of this history, I already had a negative feeling when I approached the proof.  It wasn’t the proof’s fault, but I still felt negative.

My colleague on this book project, a production manager I’ll call Ed, had sent a note the day before explaining that the author had cut one of the photos from the chapter, causing the rest of the figures to be renumbered.  I thought, Oh, this chapter, always troublesome! So when I opened up the proof, I was ready to find something wrong, and of course I did.  The renumbered figures didn’t match up.  I pulled out the original chapter text and photos and drawings, and went through one by one, double-checking everything and working myself up.  Doesn’t Ed know how to renumber figures?  What kind of production manager is he? I worked for an hour, discovered the problem, wrote a bunch of notes on how to correct it, and then sent it off to Ed and our page designer.

Only then did I notice that Ed had sent an email 20 minutes earlier.  He explained that he’d forgotten to mention that the author had moved a few other figures around.  Of course that accounted for the problem I’d discovered.  Then I got  angry at Ed – if he hadn’t been so neglectful, I wouldn’t have wasted an hour of my time!  I was so angry!  Then I took a closer look at the email he sent the previous day, where he told us about the first figure being renumbered.  He had attached a document showing the new figure numbers for all the images; like Ed had said, he’d neglected to mark on the cover sheet about these other figures being moved, but he’d  numbered all the images themselves in their new order, showing all the changes from the author including the other figures that were moved.  If I had looked at this document, instead of going back to my originals, I would have seen the change, but it never even occurred to me to look at Ed’s document.  He knows how to do his job – why didn’t I trust him?  I’d been too caught up in my own story about how this chapter was troublesome and I was the only organized person in the world.  I had been too focused on being right, being righteous, being in control.  I wasn’t looking at the truth, just making up a story about what I thought the truth would be.

Then, if I hadn’t gotten so worked up about solving the problem, I would have seen Ed’s email before I sent off my own email.  I acted hastily, and then looked like a dummy in front of both Ed and the page designer, because here I was, acting like a savior, going into detail about a problem that Ed had already noticed and pointed out.  I think this had a lot to do with why I got so very angry: my own behavior made me look silly.  Then too, I didn’t have any real reason to be angry with Ed.  He forgot to mention something.  Who doesn’t do that sometimes?  As soon as he noticed the problem, he let us know.  It wasn’t his fault I’d gotten worked up and spent an hour analyzing things.  There was nothing wrong with Ed’s behavior, only with mine.  Which just made me angrier.

I left work for the day and went to the train station.  I was standing there, feeling tense, feeling angry, when up comes my friend Sue.  She’s taking a painting class, and she told me about the project she assigned herself, to go paint her son’s boat once a month for practice.  At the end of this year she’ll have 12 paintings, all of the same boat, but all different because of the seasons, the light, different angles of viewing the boat, and Sue’s own improving technique.  So we talked about painting, and about boats, and Sue is such a sweet gentle person that I couldn’t stay angry while I was talking to her.  So I let the anger go, and listened to my friend.