Life is simply a series of breaths that are continuous. Yes the circumstances, situations, people, move on and off the stage of life, but the breath continues to breath.
After three years of feeling helpless, confused, and lost after my divorce; I decided to forgive the resentment, my ex, and most importantly myself. In doing so, a huge weight was lifted, a burden was gone, so now what? For 12 years I practiced yoga, but for the last three years gave it up, but three months ago, I was driving up La Brea in Hollywood, and that ride changed my life. I remember thinking, what can I do, that is when I spotted “Moksha Yoga”. I thought that might be fun to get back into yoga, although I never practiced hot yoga, so I was a little nervous. So I contacted them, and shared with them my idea. I wanted to do 30 straight days of hot yoga and blog on it. Emily M said, “Go for it I like single Dad’s.”
So my journey began, the next day I showed up with my mat, towel, and water. And for the next 30 days straight I blogged. Every time I practiced on the mat, I blogged about it. I shared my insights, inspiration, and struggles on the mat and how it was affecting me off the mat as a Single Dad. During that time I remember watching a parent say to their child, “Now I want to share with so and so”. Then getting on the phone and screaming at someone. So I reflected on my life, and wondered if I told my daughter to do things that in fact I did not do myself. So I decided from that moment on to be the example for my daughter.
There was a mom who visited with Gandhi and said, “Can you tell my boy to get off sugar?” He said, “Come back in 30 days.” She came back in 30 days and he told the boy, “Get off sugar.” She inquired with Gandhi, “How come you couldn’t tell him that a month ago, he replied, “I wasn’t off it myself.”
That is a leader, lead by example and walk it. So my 30 days came and went. Again Emily M came back into my life, and said, “David go for 90”. I laughed, but then I realized I couldn’t go back to my old life, and this was feeling wonderful practicing everyday, so I took her up on her challenge. And went for 90 straight days of hot yoga. It offered many challenge and opportunities to me on my mat, and still does.
During the 90 days of hot yoga, this is what I learned; it is what I call, “Unconditional Acceptance”. Each day when I practice, I lay my mat out, and lay down in Shavasana, till practice starts. Each pose is offered to us as an invitation to accept it. For example, I may be in tree pose, and feel sensations in my leg, my breath may be shallow, my mind over thinking, sweat dripping down my face, and having a need to wipe the sweat away, in this space this is what is actually happening now. So my job is to accept it, as I become aware of the shallow breathing, my breathing expands, as I become aware of the sensations, they fall away, and as I become aware of the thinking, it stops.
The breath is yoga. Unifying the mind, body, and most importantly the spirit. Unconditional acceptance isn’t so much about the bigger picture in your life, although it will certainly be affected, it is about accepting here. Can you rest here? Forget about searching, seeking, because on your mat it is happening now. And because it is happening on your mat, can you then be aware of it? No resistance, no running, no hiding, no manipulating the experience, just here on your mat as it is. A master is simply one who knows himself. What better way then on your mat?
In my practice I found it useful to label the different things happening in each pose. For example if I was aware of my thinking I would say, “thinking” or “sensation” or “feeling” etc… Once acknowledged and breathed with, it goes away. What ever it is. So simply the breath is breathing all the time, but the poses are changing, just like off your mat, people coming and going. Can you breath as your world is falling apart? Can you breath when you “think” worried? The breath is Grace. She comes and relaxes the mind. The breath accepts and the mind protects. As you become more present, you will begin to feel. Being is feeling. Thinking is useful as a servant to your life, not a master. To navigate the now, you must feel with it fully, accepting all that is placed in your life.
Unconditional Acceptance is simply feeling with life. After 90 days of hot yoga at Moksha, which just changed its name to Modo Yoga LA, I have learned how to accept life as it is, which makes it easier to take action. And which has allowed me to become a good father to my daughter. I felt I was already but now I know it. By bringing acceptance to my life and daughter, it allows her the freedom to express, feel love, and be herself. My daughter told me the other day, “Dad I know what you do for a living?” I was curious, “What?”, she smiled, “My Dad loves people”. I smiled.
Life will continue as it does…
David Matthew Brown: Heartspirational Speaker, Author of “The Book Of Light”, Dad, Blogger, “Wrestling With Yourself” on Patheos, and Soccer Coach. He also works with coaching A-List clients on dropping and living in their hearts. His radios how Inside Out ran for 6 years with over 400 guests including Desmond Tutu, Byron Katie, Marianne Williamson, Gary Zukav, Matthew Fox, and Michael Beckwith. He has spoken all over Canada and America on living in your heart and playing. He facilitates workshops, Meditation, Silent Retreats, and loves learning.
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