When I think back to some of my most favorite yoga classes where I had a defining a-ha moment, one in particular came to mind this past week as I started the new year. At Easton Yoga (where my yoga journey began) there would often be a short dharma talk given by the teacher before class started- it gave the students something to focus on and think about to drown out the external noise of all they had going on in their lives or on their busy to-do lists. It helped me to remain present, focused, and in tune with myself and my practice. It was also a really cool way to add variety, personality, laughter and point of view to each class. Sometimes they were based on excerpts from a book, other times – musical instruments were played.
This particular day the story was about selling the goat and I thought what better way to start 2018 than by selling some goats….so today we worked on this in class. The story goes – there was a man who had five children, a difficult job, a house, a wife and property to take care of and he was feeling overwhelmed so he went to ask the local town wiseman for help. He told the wiseman “I have five children to feed, a wife, a hard job, and property to take care of and I don’t know what to do?”. The wiseman told him to “Buy a goat”. He went out and bought a goat and 2 weeks later came back to the wiseman looking quite panicked and said to him “I still don’t know what to do. Now I have 5 children, a wife, a hard job, property to take care of AND a goat”. The wiseman said “Sell the goat”. A couple weeks later the wiseman ran into him at a market and he looked quite jubilant and the wiseman asked him “How are you?” and he shouted “Great, I sold the goat!”
This got me thinking about that air of rejuvenation I often feel when something gets lifted from my to-do list. For example, if I travel and don’t have to prepare and clean up after EVERY meal, I feel a sense of lightness OR if the pup gets the runs and I find myself feeling dragged down with cleaning poo for a few days…then when he is better – it feels as though I am lighter as well. And this all for me, goes back to keeping things in perspective which can often fall to the wayside in a busy life and a busy world. So during our practice, with every inhale we took in light free clean fresh oxygen to fill our lungs with life and light and love and with every exhale we let go of something we no longer need that weighs us down – it could be guilt from what didn’t happen last year, thoughts of maybe not being enough, or possibly the extra donut you had the other day while standing in line at Dunkin’ Donuts because you missed the US of A (Present company excluded – ha!!). As you move the body, engage your muscles and relax into the breath – you can really reap the benefits of a yoga practice. So whatever may be bogging you down as you begin the new year, chose to let it go (sell the goat), come back to the present and enjoy each and every moment.
Many Blessings for 2018 and beyond.