Daily assignments for living the yogi’s life with Kino MacGregor.
To check A Week of Self Reflection, click here.
To check A Week of Acknowledgements, click here.
To check A Week of Internal Peace, click here.
To check A Week of Contentment, click here.
Llife before yoga consisted of lots of all night parties, dance music and generally being too fabulous for my own good. I had a lot of high heels paired with a lot of attitude and ego. I never thought I would give up all of that for early morning yoga and putting my leg behind my head. But one day I realized that how I felt during my practice was the real “high”.
The first casualty of my new lifestyle were my party friends. While I knew that this new path was the right one for me, I felt like I was walking a solitary journey. That was until I found my yoga friends.
Today’s yogi assignment is Sangha, spiritual community. It’s so important to have friends who understand and support your practice, people who will applaud you for getting up at 5 am and dragging yourself to practice, cheers with a green juice, commiserate with you about your failed headstand and celebrate your first handstand.
There are an infinite amount of annoying situations in life from flight delays to traffic jams to bad cups of coffee to snide remarks and smelly bathrooms. The more something bothers you the easier it is to react harshly and let the apparent urgency of your personal suffering be the driver of your life. It’s harder to pause, reflect and breathe.
Today’s yogi assignment is patience. The ability to bear things that are uncomfortable requires great spiritual strength. The Bhagavad Gita defines Kshanti as the cultivation of patient self-control, restraint and tolerance. It is the quality of a spiritual warrior.
Is there a desired goal in your life that just thinking about brings you anxiety? Is there a situation in your life that is clearly beyond your control but you cannot help worrying about it? Is there a person in your life that just drives you nuts? Cultivate Kshanti, patience towards these situations, by surrendering your ego and will to divine will. If you’ve exerted all your effort but nothing has happened then you know it is beyond your control. Have the humility to ask for help and give it over to the universe for guidance.
Patience is the antidote for the dissatisfaction of instant gratification and identifying your sense of self worth with anything outside of yourself. Infinite patience is yours when you realize that all is good, everything is unfolding exactly as it should be and that who you are is exactly who you need to be.
I never felt pretty especially when I was a little girl. I felt like the odd one out, the ugly duckling. People told me I was too short, my legs were too big and my face was too flat to be attractive.
When I started practicing yoga I began seeing beauty all around me—the trees, the flowers, the sunsets—everything seemed to glow with a divine light. I started seeing beauty beyond physical form: in compassion, kindness, forgiveness and love. Finally one day I looked in the mirror and saw beauty within myself, physically yes, but more like I saw the light in my heart shining in all its splendor and I recognized the beauty and purity of my inner and truest self.
Today’s yogi assignment is beauty. See the beauty and grace in the world around you. Recognize it and appreciate it. Then see the beauty within yourself. Find at least one physical or inner quality that shines with inner light.
The Yoga Sutras say that after years of practice the fire of purification burns though all impurities leaving only its light. The body then glows with a brilliance that shines like the sun. Far beyond a perfect physique the beauty of the yogi is in the wisdom of the heart, burning with courage and compassion, living a life of inner peace.
There is a place of true beauty within each of us, a place of timeless, transcendent grace. It is through the practice of yoga that you discover the true beauty of your spirit and get the courage to let your true self shine freely, boldly and powerfully in the world. Go out today and shine bright.
Yesterday while I was helping a student in Bakasana I heard a series of pops around my right hip and soon I couldn’t put any weight on that leg, walk or even straighten my leg. After a visit to the doctor I still don’t have a complete diagnosis but it’s most likely a sprain of either the hamstring or the hip or both. Now the real yoga begins.
I always say that pain and injury are the true teachers of the spiritual path and now it’s time for me to walk my own talk. There is a lesson is everything, especially the hard and difficult stuff. If this is a hip sprain, it will change my whole paradigm on what it takes to forward bend. If it’s the hamstring, I’ll gain valuable knowledge on how to heal and rehab a hamstring sprain. Today’s yogi assignment is wisdom.
What is the wisdom that the biggest pain or obstacle in your life has to teach you? What wisdom have you gained from going through a difficult or challenging period in your life? Remaining equanimous with faith and patience through pain, injury and suffering is hard, but it is where the real inner work of yoga begins.
Being strong in yoga isn’t about how long you can hold a handstand. It’s about how much grace you can contain when facing adversity.
5. Yoga Chikitsa—yoga healing.
The body is a divine gift. No matter how much understanding we think we have the deep intelligence of the body is far beyond what we can conceive of with our rational mind. Emotions take up residence in the body, repetitive thoughts build postural patterns, traumatic events are stored in the muscles tissues, the neurological programming of the inner body are just coming into our understanding.
Yoga shines a light deep within the inner space of physical, emotional and mental bodies and opens a path to healing. Today’s yogi assignment is yoga healing or yoga Chikitsa.
We have all experienced first hand the transformational shifts from the spiritual journey of yoga. It’s not always the advanced poses that bring us healing. The poses are just windows into our true self and in the presence of that divine spark healing happens. The infinite wisdom of true grace is simultaneously uplifting and humbling, leaving you with faith and surrender as your guiding light.
Fear and excitement are two sides of the same edge. Standing on the precipice of a new life venture, a turn into the unknown or being thrown down a road you never imagined traveling can be simultaneously the best and the worst thing wrapped up into one.
Think about falling in love: your heart jumps with open arms into a situation where you know that you will simply not be able to control the outcome. Yet you close your eyes, open your heart and set yourself free.
Today’s yogi assignment is freedom. Kaivalya in Sanskirt, the freedom that is the essence of the spiritual path comes when we are no longer bound by the past and your spirit is the guiding light of your life. Freedom is the ultimate act of surrender that says that you don’t need to know the whole plan but that you willing and able to trust that all is good, that you are exactly where you need to be, that each moment is a blessing. The highest truth of the inner self sets us free from material desires so that we will never judge our sense of self worth by someone else’s standards. Think of all the limiting thoughts that are running in the subconscious mind and preventing you from taking the leap of faith into the life of your dreams. What are you willing to let go of today so that you can close your eyes, have faith and fly?
Your true spirit is limitless, expansive, undefined by boundaries, free, pure and beautiful. Yoga is a path back to home, back to the infinite experience of the true self. Being comfortable in your own skin, feeling at peace within your body is a the ability to contain two seemingly opposite realities. In one moment you may be dealing with obstacles on the physical plane (like your internet service going down), physical pain from injury or emotional anguish from personal loss. Then, in the next moment, you may feel your spirit rising beyond any tether to the material world. In the moment when you know who you really are, all that matters becomes instantly clear. Your home is with the highest dwelling in all the universe, your spiritual inheritance is the most brilliant light.
Today’s yogi assignment is home. Define what it means to be home on every level. Start with the physical, define what home means to you and then move on to the emotional and find your spiritual heart space. Finally tap into the vibration of your highest truth and find your home in grace and purity.