the sanga within and without

how important are our environment and relationships to our practice? spending this past weekend in santa monica at the grand opening of mandala yoga center i was surrounded by practitioners and yogis… and as always the practice ran deep.  how do we cultivate this community in our daily life and slowly shift away from toxic patterns and situations?  does one need to live in an ashram or yoga center to find this rhythm and support?

Kavita performs with Josse Jaffe & Johanna Beekman at Bhakti Yoga Shala.

Kavita performs with Josse Jaffe & Johanna Beekman at Bhakti Yoga Shala.

having personally spent time in deep practice on retreat or at an ashram but also more often in the daily grind of trying to make ends meet as an artist and yoga teacher while being a single mom, i find that a simple regular commitment to practice is all it takes to start to clear the field.  perhaps it is a gradual peeling away… perhaps we choose and change and then settle in but whichever is your temperament, the more time spent in practice and contemplation, the less tolerance & attention we have for extreme or unbalanced behaviors and actions around us.

we start to notice our relationships are more often ones where our practice can be present or included as part of the conversation.  where choices are between two balanced things to do or places to go, and less about managing situations where we feel tempted to move away from center or be pulled away from practice.  through all of this we begin to be able to find breath before reacting and respond in a balanced way.

vedic astrologer and tantric relationship coach jeffrey armstrong put it in terms of cellular regeneration saying a certain number of new cells are created every day and are awaiting instructions for how to operate.  what do we expose them too? how are they integrated into our system either to support our practice or pull away from it?

how does this parallel the people and places we choose to commune with?

by supporting and being part of our sanga, the community of practitioners we surround ourselves with, we in turn nurture and bathe those new cells with the tools of practice.  by spending a tenth of our waking day involved with our practice, we reinforce this path and find balance in the soup of chaos we live in (kaliyuga!)

breathe, sit, chant, move.  start over.  carry water.  chop wood.  this is a good time.