Wednesday, February 13, 2013

40 Days Sadhana or Lent

Tuppy....because I haven't posted enough cats lately

I had pretty much decided not to do anything for Lent this year. Now, if you know me, you know this is a sign of something deeper going on and not necessarily "deep" in a good way. If you really know me, you know this is a sign of major misalignment.

I believe in mystery and I love structure, so I am both a spiritual and a religious person.

But I am also an easily distracted person, a person who gets confused if she has too many things going on in her life, a person who thinks that focus on one thing automatically excludes all else. These are just my quirks.

As I immerse myself more in my work of dance and movement teaching, for example, I find myself loosing my hold on my more spiritual/religious practices.

Now...some of you will say, "But dance is your practice." Keep in mind that that's your idea of me. My reality is not that. Dance is PART of my spiritual practice but I find that I still need other, more concrete, more defined structures to be my most happy, centered self.  When I have those other structures in place, they feed my dance.

So to just skip over lent is not only weird and odd and unexpected but also not good for me.

I was ignoring all of this until I went to teach my elder dancers yesterday morning.

Somehow we ended up in a fairly long discussion before class began about Big, Important Things. This happens. They need this, so I never stop it even when it's eating into our movement time (which it didn't yesterday because we just stayed late).

These Big Important Things then were floating around that room as we started to move.

One of my dancers, between songs when they were sipping water and breathing, asked me about her concerns recently about using the steps at home.

I started to talk to her about her core and the use of her legs and then...

It all came together.

For Lent, she is doing "Steps Meditation," and I thought some of you might like this as inspiration for your own Lenten practice.

Or you can think of this as a Sadhana. In Kundalini yoga, they love to do 40 day spiritual practices, and of course, Lent is 40 days. It all works!

My elder dancer is going to stop at the bottom or top of the steps and focus on her breathing. Then she is going to mindfully marry her breath to her steps on the way down or up, being aware of using her core. We decided she could even add a simple prayer.

Every single time she comes to steps over the next 40 days, she is going to stop and do this work.

Imagine the changes she could experience and on so many levels!

All this talk of Lent reminded me of a year that I decided to give up negative self-talk.

I'm thinking either the Steps meditation or the giving up of self-cruelty is probably way better than just giving up chocolate. I would love to hear your ideas for this 40 days of practice.