07 June 2012

Finding Peace Amid Change

My life has been a whirlwind of change the past several months. I have not always managed to maintain calmness during the madness of trying to move a family of four from Southern to Northern California. Now that we are mostly settled, I am regaining my focus on yoga and working to find my peace again.

 My path to serenity begins here.

It's a trail nearby our new home. I went for a walk a few days ago, not really knowing where I would go when I left the apartment. There's a short path behind the apartment complex, but it only takes 5 minutes to walk. I'd had a rather frustrating day with the kids (nap strike) so I really needed to be away from the chaos for little longer than that. I crossed the bridge over the creek bed and discovered there is a parallel path on the other side. So, I took the path, here in a town I don't really know yet, unfamiliar with where it might lead. I could always turn back if anything looked ominous.

It turned out to be exactly what I needed. It formed a loop and took about 30 minutes at a slow/moderate pace. I'm not a fast walker, and not at all a runner. For the most part I walked comfortably, though about 20 minutes in I could tell it was going to loop, but was unsure exactly how long the loop would be. At that stage I pushed myself to walk a bit faster just to make sure I was home in the 30 minutes I intended.

Taking refuge in nature through walking outdoors has always helped me to still my mind. Which is after all, the primary goal of yoga. It's amazing how we can apply Patanjali's tenets to our lives off the mat. Reading his sutras was one of the most enlightening experiences I've ever had. For this and so many reasons, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to take yoga teacher training. It improved my life on many levels.

Go out and make someone smile today. Be gentle with anyone who seems distracted, grumpy, or rude. You never know what might be troubling them today, and your graciousness could give them a small amount of comfort that could help them to get through a challenging day.


  1. I am little disturbed by your last paragraph. I believe neutrality helps the oppressor. Silence encourages the tormentor. I have observed that women often make more stress for themselves when they respond with a pleasant smile to belittling comments, rude language, name calling and raised voices. Three decades in customer service has taught me when you reward bad behavior, you train people to think that acting rudely is "how you get things done."

  2. I see it as compassion toward the unhappy. I have no idea what load someone else might have to bear today, and if I respond to someone's poor behavior with poor behavior, it only creates suffering for us both.

    Obviously I'm not talking about someone actually being abused, which is sounds like you are, Kumari - of course we should not tolerate that. I just meant if you encounter someone during the day who isn't Holly Go-Lightly, cut them some slack. Their mom may have just been diagnosed with cancer or something equally horrible, and sometimes when things like that happen anyone is likely to be grumpy for a while.