Jan 5, 2015

Essential You

In Yoga and Ayurveda we often seek a fixed or set experience of perfect health.  As a newcomer to Ayurveda, we try to understand the 3 constitutional types, or Doshas, and may have the idea that “perfect” health is the “perfect” balancing of all 3 doshas.
Not so.
But don’t fret, even Wikipedia gets this wrong 😉

Constitution, Dosha dominance, is formed at our birth; this blueprint is called Prakriti.
Our true wellness today will align with our Prakriti, which is essential to our innate qualities and personality.
Unfixed, Doshas compose all of nature, so they are always on the move, just like the seasons, the sun, the earth, moods, and desires.
The practices and techniques of Yoga and Ayurveda cultivate awareness of these continuous shifts and changes providing us with the important information; I’m cold, so put on a sweater and make soup with warming spices and insulating coconut oil.
Listening for and observing these shifts we adapt and adjust to accommodate balance and cultivate awareness.
Refining our awareness is the very heart and definition of Yoga.

Adapt, adjust, accommodate, this is the highest Yoga.
– Swami Sivananda

From the age of 6 to 13, I had a summer friend who was my BEST friend.
I couldn’t wait for summer to begin, to run from our car to the beach and meet my girl Michelle.

Would she be there on the first day of summer?
What time on a Saturday morning?
Would she stay till dark, would her mom put her in our summer camp too?

Every summer day I ran, my eye only looking for her.
We were in towns too far to meet during the year, so the end of our summer was a sorrow, how long could I wait?
And every summer we resumed our friendship, with no lag time, no changes, no regrets, we raced toward each other.

One summer Michelle was gone.
I was shocked.
I never saw her again.
I have thought of her so often, and leaf through small faded photos from all my summer birthdays and particularly one photo from Labor Day weekend festivities, our ankles tied together in a 3-legged race where we mug for the camera.

Four years ago Michelle found me, along with Jen another childhood summer friend, on Facebook.
Michelle lives in Virginia where she moved at 14 when her father suddenly passed away. Michelle was sent to her older brother’s while her mother put things in order.

As soon as we reunited online, Michelle planned a trip up East to visit us and share a story of a sudden change and an incredible loneliness and a teen life full of challenges. Today she is happily married, with incredible kids and a grateful, active life.

She brought her treasured scrapbook of our summer times, that she had looked at everyday during that first Virginia year and the following summers. When she first got to Virginia, she begged her sister-in-law take her shopping for a shirt just like one I wore, with a silhouette of a 1920s flapper on it.

She thought of me everyday.
Just as I thought of her.

When I arrived for our reunion at Jen’s home, her two huge friendly dogs climbed on me, barking and boisterous as I laughed, waved my arms and jumped up and down.

Oh my God, Michelle said, you are exactly the same!  Your gestures, your laugh, the faces you make, everything about you is the same.

It had never occurred to me that I threw my hands up at all then just as I do now. Or that I carried my silly faces and laugh all the way to adulthood. I was perplexed, how could all that remain when I had worked so hard through theater training and dance and yoga and an unrelenting idea of perfectionism to change and be different?

Yet here I was, still familiar and still loved. And by someone who loved as dearly as I had. My soul sister.

There is something innate, essential to the self, that does not change, and that we can and must honor as others do.

What is essential to who you are?

Yoga says it is our duty to identify, embrace and serve this essential self; that we are beholden to share our unique gift.

Each day when you wake, take 3 minutes, to observe quietly, and to ask, Who Am I?

When I take away all the terms – this name, visual descriptions, my roles, tendencies, my likes, my dislikes, my stories…then who?

In that formless, unnamable place greet and honor your precious essential self.

Welcome home Essential Beings,
Kiki

Ayurveda is the originator of the phrase “you are what you eat” – click here to find out what you’ve been eating.   And find out what Kiki does All Day, Every Day to keep up her healthy lifestyle.

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