Sattva, discipline and questions of balance
Each month, at the New Moon, I have been facilitating an intention setting practice at Gertrude Street Yoga that honours the art of turning inwards. Together, we practice slowing down, tuning in and offering our bodies and minds spaciousness. In the four months that we have been practicing together, I have found that the regularity of ritual has provided profound growth in my own personal life. That is, until the last couple of weeks, when I worried that I had 'lost' my sense of connection to the intention I had set myself for August.
The intention was relatively simple - 'approach each day with joyful discipline'. With this intention, I was hoping to solidify the new rituals of my life on the surf coast. For over a decade I have been rising most days before the sun to practice (and in more recent years to teach) yoga. With our move, I imagined an increased sense of commitment to this practice. To my surprise, the opposite has happened - I just want to sleep. Until the sun comes up at 7.15am at least, and later on some days.
At first, I critiqued this as 'laziness'. As an abandonment of ritual, and as a slackening of my spiritual practice. But then I realised that I was actually just very, very tired. That I had been 'on the go' for years (as anyone who knows me well will agree!), and that perhaps a softening of my expectations was a more appropriate remedy than extending an intention of discipline, not matter how joyful its aim.
Speaking with others who have been coming along to the New Moon practice, it is fascinating how different we all are. My version of 'slack' seems laughable to night owls who rise late in the day. Ayurveda calls this uniqueness 'prakriti' - your essential, unrepeatable design. And whilst our intentions are all as unique as we are, they seem to be threaded with this common invitation for more compassion, and more kindness in our collective lives.
And so as I make my way through August, it is with the intention of 'joyful discipline', but also with a reminder that 'discipline' sometimes means a 6am practice, but on other days it means rest, or dancing, or a glass of wine and an episode of Insecure. Because if discipline is the action, then joy is the intended outcome - and joy most certainly comes from sattva (harmony), not beating myself around with should-haves and could-have-dones. Once again, I am brought humbly back to the realisation that old patterns die hard, and I find myself smiling at the sheer humanity of that sensation.
This month I also spoke with my friend, student and now colleague Lucy Lawes, as part of her Real Life Yogis Project. You can read our conversation here. As of the 19th of August, you can also visit her new yoga studio Estuary Yoga in North Melbourne!
With love, J x
PS: Exciting news! Some of you will be aware that I have been working away on the launch of a new NFP called State of Being. Thrilled that we now have a website that begins to encapsulate some of the work that Alice and I have been doing, and the direction that we are headed in.