Friday, August 26, 2011

You know you're a Yogi when...

1. Your Facebook wall posts consist of a quote from a Swami, The Dalai Lama or another Saint or wise ol' peacekeeper

2. You wake before everyone else in your house/neighborhood and instead of going back to sleep, you fall asleep in meditation

3. Instead of cursing the loud mouth drunk neighbor whose car needs a muffler, you picture him surrounded by light and love.  Then you put in some ear plugs.

4. You chanted Ram! Ram! Ram! during the earthquake and enjoyed the ride.

What else?  Send in your responses and I'll post them here!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sutra 1.3: The Seer Abides In Its Own Nature

Ah, so much going on at the same time.  As I write this, a friend is struggling to give birth to a new human baby.  Jai to the little one and its mother.  Another friend is struggling with negative thoughts that plague her mind, poor thing.  Yoga Dog as usual is in sit, stay, drop it training as I watch and just giggle inside.  Luckily I am a cat and no one expects me to train in such mundane "trickery."  Since I do not have to bother with such trainings and have more time to study the Yoga Sutras, the primary text of the ancient science of Raja Yoga. 

Sri Patanjali's Sutras: 1.3  Then The Seer (Self) Abides In Its Own Nature

You are not the body nor the mind.  So simple, yet most of us get bogged down by distortions that cloud our ability to see the truth.  Our mind creates thoughts and desires.  The Seer or Self knows this but sometimes is mixed up by the mind.  For example, one day Yoga Dog was walking by a beautiful lake and looked in the clear water.  First he thought there was another dog looking back at him so he barked and barked.  After I told him that he was looking at a reflection of himself he recoiled in horror.  The lake from all his barking was rippling and he looked like a wavy mess.  He thought that was what he looked like.  Of course we know that his head is not wavy and misshapen.  He is not as good looking as a cat, but he is handsome for a dog.  Why is it that he could not see himself?  He thought that the reflection was him.  Of course we know that the reflection we see in a lake or mirror is not us, but then again if we have never seen ourselves before this might be something our mind believes.  This is how our mind works sometimes-- it looks at the reflection from mirrors, from other people-- and we take that as truth.  But our True Selves never change, and we are within pure and beautiful.

So how do we see ourselves as always true and unwavy?  We must help the mind get clear and calm again, just like the lake water.  When we allow our minds to be disturbed by negative thoughts, worrying, judgment, etc. we can no longer see our True Selves.  It is through meditation and Hatha Yoga that we can help the mind practice being in this calm clear state.  It isn't easy, but with time, perseverance and enthusiasm we can master the mind.

Any questions?  Try reading Sri Swami Satchidananda's translation and commentary of the Sutras (see picture above.)  Also my friend Rev. Jaganath's book Inside The Yoga Sutras is so helpful in understanding this ancient and wise text.  Rev. Jaganath analyzes the Sanskrit words and helps the reader understand why each word was used and what it meant at that time.  Very interesting!

And of course I want to hear from you.  Are you having a hard time with The Yoga Sutras?  Or any part of Yoga?  Life?  Love?  Going back to school?  Let me know.  I'm all ears, and a little fur.

With much respect, love and purring,

Swami Cat

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 2: The Sutras

 Day 2 of the Sutra Discussions. 

Feel free to write in your own thoughts and comments regarding the Sutras.  It is more fun with a dialogue, no?

Here we go...
Pada 1.2

This is the crux of Yoga.  This is why we do Yoga.  This section of the Sutras is the most important and if you could only study one of the sections, this would be the one.

Yoga chitta vritti nirodha. 

"Chitta Vritti"-- it sounds like a new snack food.

It is Sanskrit and it means the stopping of all the bouncing around of the mind is Yoga.

It is like when I was a little bitty furball and I saw a piece of yarn I would run and pounce on it.  But then I was distracted by the fly and so followed it.  It led me to the window and I jumped up and saw the dog outside and fell of the ledge, hurt my paws and ran to my mommy.

This is like the mind when we do not practice a form of meditation or Yoga.  Most people have trouble staying true to their path in life because there are so many distractions.  Many people have a very hard time sitting still and being quiet.  They say it is the scariest thing.  And if you ask them what they are scared of, they say-- their own thoughts.  Ahhh, the mind.  It IS the last frontier.  (Spock did not have a problem with chitta vritti.  His mind was not an incessant whirling.)

So what to do with our distracted, ego-centered mind that leads us to pain, suffering and ignorance?

We practice Yoga.  And put away the balls of yarn before we start.

Om and purr,
Swami Cat

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Now Yoga

Sitting with Yoga Girl and Gopal up on the mountains, looking at nature's beauty, I was reminded of how I feel after I meditate.  I admit, it has been awhile since I woke up early and did my full meditation and asana series.  This summer I took a part time job teaching kittens how to act (other than cute.)  My whole day was about wrangling kittens.  Have you ever tried to focus a clutter of kittens?  It is almost impossible except I know a secret.  Kittens love to play.  And so to re-focus them every so often I became the leader of Simon Says.  This then reminded me of meditation for is not the mind like a kitchen full of hungry chirping kittens?

And so when I returned from nature's quiet where I could easily meditate to the the home where dishes, laundry and cat liter lay, I opened my copy of Rev. Jaganath's Inside The Yoga Sutras.  I opened right to the first Pada.  "Now, the exposition of Yoga."  The only way to practice Yoga is to do it in the present.  Focus.  Be alert.  And so I will be alert and ask you to join me on my journey.  Once a day we together can study a section.

And so it begins.  See you back here tomorrow.

Om and purr,

Swami Cat

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tail of the Day

Tail of the Day
Swami Cat

Every morning do a little stretch, breathe and Purring. 

When I miss my stretch, breathe and purr the day is a little off.  Sometimes the off day steamrolls into a bad day when I hiss at my students, stub another paw toe and miss many opportunities to serve others.  But when I take the few precious moments for myself the day is easier and I have more patience with others, the world becomes more colorful.  It's the difference between a cloudy day and a sunny day.  It is an old antennae TV channel filled with static instead of HD.

Yesterday I took a long walk with Gopal, A.K.A. Yoga Dog and taught him the joys of early morning Hatha.  We stretched, breathed and purred.  He did not get the purr down but he is very adept at the pant.  For the rest of the day we enjoyed each others' company, chose healthy foods to eat and for everyone we met along the way we smiled.  Gopal came up with the brilliant idea of picking up trash on our walk home.  We had paws full by the time we found a dumpster and hopefully all the people in the passing cars that saw us doing a good deed were inspired to as well.  It was a wonderful day watching the rain instead of cursing it, as could have happened. 

And so may you all find a little time to stretch, breathe and purr today.

A little reminder,

Swami Cat

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time Off

Things to do before school starts again:
Try new Yoga classes
Make organic meals
Shop in local stores (anyone know a local farm that sells eggs?)
Take my bicycle off the bike rack and use it at the park
Kayak, kayak, kayak
See more of the world -- New Hampshire White Mountains next!
Write in this blog every day (every day I'm not "seeing the world")
Playtime with Yoga Dog.
Plan Swami Cat's live tour to Yoga studios near you
Create the Swami Cat book of Wisdom To Purr By (Just made that up, do you like it)
Hopefully sign up more followers to the blog.
Much easier to write if I know people are reading.
Put more artistic and business effort into writing career

What's your To Do list?