Posted by: eveyoga | May 7, 2010

Radical Acceptance

Over the last week I’ve been writing about the ways yoga teachers are expected to behave by their students or the general public. Paragons of virtue and purity, it would seem, is what is wanted, not adulterated weaklings.

In the spirit of coming clean, I’ve been revealing some of my frailities.

Here’s another way I can prove to you I’m human. I get grumpy when tired. Yoga teachers are not even supposed to get tired. To add crankiness to the bargain must certainly threaten the paragon’s credentials.

The problem is I get tired every day. Since my surgery Feb. 1st, I’ve been on a gradual gradient of improvement. Every day, in every way 🙂 Then, what I’ve done is do more. It’s actually been kind of fun. I can walk further, do a greater variety of yoga poses for longer timings, clean the house all by myself, push the loaded wheelbarrow up hill, swing a mattock. You get the picture.

I start my yoga plus routine about 6:30 am., pause for breakfast at around 8:30, and then take on a physically demanding project till late morning. But that’s it then. Rooted.

I think I’m still clawing back my haemoglobin levels post-surgery with the help of iron tablets, but it’s been a slow process.

Now here’s the thing: Why do I have to be grumpy about being tired? Well, of course I don’t.

I heard the expression “radical acceptance” last year when I was in the States. I’m not even sure if I know what it means but I liked it and so I’ve appropriated it. When I remember to accept my state of fatigue and go with it (ie. rest), then all is smooth skating. The radical bit for me is that it’s so far from my pushy temperament to embrace tiredness. It takes an enormous amount of awareness to take down the barbed wire I erected to protect me. What I’ve discovered is the recognition of my bad mood and acceptance of my tired state diminish or entirely eliminate the resistance I was experiencing. Resisting takes an enormous amount of energy.

Good old Patanjali came up with the definition of yoga but also a brilliant practice – Yoga citta-vrtti nirodah. “Yoga is to redirect the fluctuations of the mind,” says Desikachar’s translation. Or from Wikepedia (!), “Yoga is the restraint of mental modifications”.

All there is is to keep practising.

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