Holiday Restoration 2014
“I practice yoga every day, but I’ve never made a habit out of it.”
The first time I did a Vipassana meditation retreat I was seated directly behind a gentleman who wore the same tee shirt for almost the entire 10 days. The big block lettering on the back of his shirt read, “I practice yoga every day, but I’ve never made a habit out of it.” With 10 days of no reading, no writing, no talking — literally just sitting still from 4:30am until 7:30pm — I couldn’t help but think that this simple and profound message was somehow deliberately intended for me to contemplate. What does it mean, I wondered, to commit to the rigor of a discipline and yet remain completely open to it being fresh and new each day?…
I know that for many of us the habit of the holidays is to rush around in a frenzy of festive activity and then collapse afterwards feeling exhausted and slightly glad that they’re over. Then we feel kind of guilty after we’ve admitted to ourselves that we feel slightly glad that they’re over. Were these days really holy? Did I feel authentic reverence? Perhaps I simply lacked the internal resources to be fully present because I was just tired.
If any of that resonates with you, then I’d like to invite you to change the pattern with me on Sunday from 1:00-3:00pm in a special extended practice that I’m calling Holiday Restoration. We will leave behind our habit of feeling like we need to get through sun salutations and standing poses in order to feel worthy of relaxation pose. Realistically, we’ll probably only do 5 or 6 poses in the whole two hour span. But the poses that we practice will be of a special variety. They will be fully propped out so that our bodies can rest and recover. We will savor the sensation of being fully supported and of allowing our breath to gradually deepen. This holiday feel-good experience will reawaken the sensory connoisseur in each of us and will establish a template for full presence. Isn’t that a neat change? Presence, not presents?
I can already hear some of you chirping, “Sounds great, guy. But why on earth would you have scheduled that extended practice in the middle of the Saints vs. Falcons game?!” All I can say is that I feel like I’m doing my part to help nudge the Saints into the playoffs because they have a better record this season when I teach on Sundays and watch the game after the fact. Who dat! Hope to see you soon!