Start Where You Are

Yoga With John

Growing up, I remember this ritual of my fathers.  Every Saturday he would come home from work, and over lunch (a sandwich with potato chips inside) would sit up straight, and make out the list for the day.  Here’s the magic: He would start with a few items that he had already accomplished, and cross them out.  All this with the drone of candlepin bowling on our relic-of-a black and white television. 

When I close my eyes, I can still hear the pins exploding, and the sedated Howard Cosell wanna-be announcer bleating out, ‘strike, and that puts him up by 6 pins’  Dad reads this blog,  do you still make these lists?

Practice already done is foundation, or ‘Sthira’. Hopefully it’s sweet, or ‘Sukham’.   Something we can build on.  Like the saying ‘you can’t step into the same river twice’  We can never be that person we were yesterday.  But we can take what we’ve learned and move forward in understanding, trying not to repeat our mistakes. But it’s important to start where we are now.

Each day, set a clear intention, do your best to stay focused, and let go of the need for a certain outcome.  Focused flow.  A timeless teaching from the Bhagavad Gita. 

There are places in the yoga world where study of scripture for 20 years is the prerequisite for learning a single Yoga pose.  Here, we dive right in.  What we are studying are very advanced practices, with very long lineages.  is Yoga practice a hobby, a refuge, a path to liberation, or a good workout?  It’s all, and none in the same moment.  Pure potential, pure emptiness. 

When you’re unrolling your mat, remember to start where you are, with clear intent, and practice relaxing your grip on the outcome.

I’ll see you in class.

Om Shanti


5 thoughts on “Start Where You Are”

  1. I remember it well. The tuna fish was Italian tuna with red onions and no mayo on Italian bread. The tuna fish the other days of the week—every day— was Star Kist ( remember Charlie the tuna? ) with mayo and no chips.

    1. Wow, now that’s memory, and a very detailed lunch. I’m so glad that the tunas are safe now. Or is it the dolphins that are safe? Why are they not both safe? I’ll just have the bread and onion sandwich at this point. (On a day I’m not teaching maybe!) thanks. Oh, and people are loving your soup.

  2. Hey John, with a smile, those days long ago, are a joy to remember. Yes, the lists still are still something I do often. A lot of times lately the list is a grocery shopping list! :-). Being happily married and retired here in Paradise, I have severely cut down on chores, because they take time away from the important things. First is keeping the wife happy. Then it is not a problem to persue a little quiet time , maybe on the golf course with our group, or down to the jetty for a nice walk breathing the salt air. (Which reminds me of our many, many good times at Cape Cod.) We are so proud of you! Come on down…. Love, US

  3. This is becoming a family affair so I thought I had better chime in! Wow, that brought back some nice memories! I remember the lists very well! And we loved watching that bowling every Saturday. I also think we loved the ritual of it all, something familiar, something we can count on. Thanks, John! Love you.

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