Dec 27, 2009

Enmeshment and Ahimsa...

I've been practicing yoga for 6 years now. Of course I care a lot about my asanas, the anatomically non-harming correctness of my postures, how comfortable I am in an asana and mainly the prana vitalizing my body. And also, I have been caring a lot about the first two steps of Astanga Yoga - Yamas and Niyamas, for the past two years now. I always believe that yoga is not just doing a posture perfectly:) That's why, it's very important for me to have yoga as a lifestyle, in my life, with all the Patanjali's eight limbs of yoga.

I still have a hard time figuring out why, but I've had the hardest time with Ahimsa / Non-harming. I have no problem with avoiding harming others-physically or by thought. I was never the kind of a person to think ill of someone else, to even to harm them physically or emotionally. What is very hard for me is to, stop harming myself :) I'd rather hurt myself, than to hurt someone else - physically or emotionally... Well, i know this sounds very sick but most of the time, before I had yoga in my life, I found myself literally depressing myself or making myself upset, just to avoid someone (most probably someone i love) else's pain.
From the moment, my instructor told me about Ahimsa, I knew I would have to work on it:) Well, it sure has been and still is a wonderful challenge to apply Ahimsa in my life. It is very easy to realize that you are thinking about or doing hurtful (physical or in thought) things for someone else. Let's assume, you witnessed someone else, talking ill about you and/or physically abusing you. You suddenly get angry, because you know that this is wrong, and you are raised in such a way that, this can be corrected by either physically hurting that person, or wishing-thinking, really hard that, that person would get hurt the same way you are hurting. This is a very common example that we live through very often in our lives. That's why, this or similar ways of harming others can be very easily realized, once we begin listening to and being aware of our own selves. Once you realize, suddenly you remember of Ahimsa and that's when you let go of all your feelings and desire to harm another being :) But what about, you harming yourself?Do we know when we are harming ourselves? Unfortunately, most of the time, we don't realize that we are....

Ahimsa, meaning non-harming, does not apply only to our actions onto the others. It also means non-harming the self. Did you ever loose your sleep because a friend of your hasn't called you? Do you bite your nails when your be-loved ones are hurting and you can't help them? Do you ever over-do your asanas and hurt yourself, just to be better? (Better at what?? that's another blog's topic:)) Do you ever over-drink after an ended relationship? Do you ever over-stress yourself just to be five minutes early? Do you ever over-eat just to make your grand-mother happy? (well, I have a Mediterranean family:)) Do you ever upset yourself because of the sadness of your friend-that you can not help? ..... The list goes on and on, I'm sure you can find many examples of situations in your life, where you are harming yourself, in action or in thought. For me in addition to all these, the worst is when I make myself angry, upset and stressed, because I couldn't say NO to someone I love:) But how could I? I feel like I have to say yes, to make them happy, but as soon as I say yes, I regret it and most of the time hate myself. This is a very disturbing dilemma for me. It's not a problem to serve someone as a selfless deed, or to help someone up to an extend. On the other hand, whenever I feel like I'm forced to do a certain thing or to think in a certain way, when I don't say NO, I feel as if I'm out of my balance and feel much discomfort that, it becomes a harmful deed for myself.

I'm reading "Teaching Yoga" by Donna Farhi - brilliant book, and I came across her description of this dilemma in such good words that I think it's better for me to quote her.

"Enmeshment, is described as 'an inappropriate merging of identities' by Phillip Moffitt. In enmeshment we may find ourselves taking responsibility for things that we neither agreed to do nor on reflection want to do. Or we agree to do something but we feel mentally or emotionally in conflict with our agreement. There are reasons why we may find it difficult to extricate ourselves from a relationship mired in enmeshment. First, while we may recognize that we're uncomfortable, we may not be able to put our finger on the source of that discomfort. Second, we may be unable to accept that we are uncomfortable, resentful, or even angry in response to the enmeshment. Finally, in the case of those of us on a spiritual path, we may wrongly assume that we should feel different, that if we were more generous, more gracious, or more "spiritual", then we should be ok with the circumstance. We may wrestle with our inability to accept our own feelings, and this may deter us from taking any action. When we are able to accept our feelings in an unqualified way, we can take appropriate action to reassert healthy boundaries." (Teaching Yoga, Donna Farhi, pg43)

I always believe that once we welcome Yoga into our lives, it's a wonderful journey for life:) For me, practicing every aspect - for now the first four of the Patanjali's eight limbs - of Yoga, has been and still is very refreshing in the sense that, with each day I listen to and learn about myself, physical body, emotions, and thoughts....
All through our lives, whether with or without Yoga, that's what we all do. We, try to experience life. And that's why I think Ahimsa is very important. We should be non-harming to both others and our own selves, in order to fully experience our wonderful lives. May be we should ask ourselves, can this be a cause for any harm to others or myself? As soon as we ask this question, we will be aware of our doing more, and realize the gains/harms of it in better, wider ways.

A new year is coming ... Make a wish for yourself, your beloved ones and for the goodness of the whole world.... And try to apply Ahimsa in your life, you'll see, your life getting brighter and brighter, as your heart will be glowing :)
Begin the new year with a wonderful wish....
Begin with Yoga.....

Dec 25, 2009


I'm not a christian... Well I don't really like to be put into any category regarding something so sensitive as our beliefs:) Anyways, I wasn't raised christian, but I had the wonderful chance of living with 4 canadian and 1 south african families, which i like to call as "my families". I had my canadian families when I was an exchange student at the age of 17 and as you can guess, Christmas in Princeton, BC was a highlight in my year abroad:)

I'm not sure if it was the songs or the presents or even the feeling of the spirit of Santa Claus, but I lived and believed in Christmas and all it's magic. Now, it's been 10 years since I've lived the magic of Christmas. Although now I live in a country where most people are Muslims; every year, I still like to listen to christmas songs, have vegeterian christmas food, decorate our christmas tree and hope for Santa to come:)

This year feels different... This year, christmas feels brighter than ever. That's why, every morning during this last month of 2009, I felt like making a wish for the well-being of my be-loved ones and the whole world:)

I wish for light from darkness,
I wish for truth from deceit,
I wish for life from unreasoned killings,
I wish for kindness from distant beings....

And I wish for all the Loveand Magic for our wonderful world....
Make a wish, in the bright new morning, a wish for all the beings, and imagine it becoming real :) 
Merry christmas everyone, and happy happy new year:)

Dec 24, 2009

Dec 1, 2009

The Other Person is Really Me !!!

Couple days ago, I was reading an article about Kundalini yoga and I came across the saying "Recognize that the other person is you" from Yogi Bhajan. Then I remembered what we talked about with my dear friend Simone, couple months ago in India. On february 2009, during our yoga instructor's course in Bangalore India, I was having a hard time agreeing with and liking a guy in our class, well with everything he did or say, he got to my nerves. Simone found it interesting and asked me questions like "what exactly don't you like about him, how do you exactly feel when he talks to you? " and so on... As I began to answer the questions, she said " do you realize, the things you don't like about him, are the exact things you also don't like about yourself !!! " Well this got me thinking :)
When we look at the people in our lives, the people we love, people we call our "friends", people we work with, people we can't seem to get along, they all have one or two characteristics that we share. People we care about and want to be with, have the characteristics we have and love about ourselves. People we can't stand, usually do or have the exact same thing that we don't like about ourselves. Look around you, and try to put into exact words what you like and don't like about them. You will realize, what you are trying to explain is YOU.
Simone says, we collect the people we need, in our lives. We need to meet with and recognize ourselves. We see our good characteristics in the people we love, and we see and repel our own unpleasant characteristics in the people we can't get along.
It is very important to realize this because as soon as we realize, we can't not like anyone. Everyone becomes our mirror, one angle or another. And once we realize this we start cherishing each and every person in our life.
Whenever, I realize something about my self that is so simple and also so complicated, I can't help to have a Gentle Smile, on my face :) 

Always remember, the other person is You.
know yourself, be free, live long and Begin with Yoga