I was in New Mexico for a retreat with about 40 other people. As I stepped out of the Adobe in New Mexico I looked up at the dark sky, lit by what I thought was going to be the sun because it was about 5:16 AM. It wasn’t the sun. It was the Moon. The moon appeared to be setting before the sun had yet to rise. The air was cool but it was perfect, as it felt like a morning embrace. Only one other human being was awake to see it. I was up early for my yoga practice and He was up to sketch, as he was an artist. My jaw dropped. It was perfect. Neither of us could speak. A few hours later I found myself teaching a yoga class in front of a Teepee we had built that morning. 40 acres of sage land below my feet, and at the end of class I took a deep breath. I gave thanks to the students, and I looked around to see I wasn’t the only one feeling emotional. I knew I was there because I had made a firm conviction in my life choices. My Shraddha. My Shraddha had led me to this moment and fuck… it felt good. In case you are new to this word, here are a few definitions that will help to explain.
General Definition (in Hinduism)
1) Śraddhā (श्रद्धा) is a Sanskrit term loosely translated as “faith”. It is important in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist literature and teachings. It can be associated with faith, trust, confidence, and loyalty. Sri Aurobindo describes Śraddhā as “the soul’s belief in the Divine’s existence, wisdom, power, love and grace.”
2) Śrāddha (श्राद्ध) is a Sanskrit word, which literally means ‘anything or any act that is performed with all sincerity and faith (śraddhā)’. In the Hindu religion, it is the ritual that one performs to pay homage to one’s ‘ancestors’ (pitṛs), especially to one’s dead parents.
General definition (in Buddhism)
Shraddhā (śraddhā), Skt., lit. “belief, faith”; (Pali saddhā); the inner attitude of faith and devotion toward the Buddha and his teaching. Shraddhā is the basis of the first two elements of the eightfold path—perfect view and perfect resolve. In the Mahāyāna shraddhā plays an even more important role, being regarded as the virtue out of which all the others develop and which opens the door of liberation to even those who do not have the self-discipline to tread the path of meditation. In Buddhism, however, faith in the sense of “pure faith” of Christianity is out of place. Shraddhā consists rather in the conviction that grows in students through their own direct experience with the teaching; blind faith in the words of the Buddha and the master goes against the spirit of Buddhism, and the Buddha himself warned his followers against it. Trust and belief in the Buddha Amitābha is nevertheless the principal factor in the practice of the Pure Land School, which is often described as a “Way of Faith.”
So why am I writing this? I wonder what your Shraddha is, or if you are aware of it? Are you making choices in your life with a firm conviction? Once I became aware of my Shraddha my life changed dramatically. I chose to leave a career I disliked and do what I love. I teach. I teach yoga. I get to be
myself, and share my experiences and stories in order to help others. I have a lot more stories to share; the ones I know that could really inspire, but have been hard for me to talk about. By creating this blog I hope to continue to heal myself as well as my students. For that I am tremendously grateful.
So, again, what is your Shraddha? If we only have one shot at this life, don’t we want to do the things that fill us with immense joy? Give endless love and receive endless love. We we need to appreciate this vessel we have been given to explore this earth and respect it for all it has given us?
My yoga practice has led me to my Shraddha. Without yoga I wouldn’t be here and with out you I wouldn’t be here to share my practice. Whether you think you are young or old, or weak or strong, or happy or sad, yoga is for you. It’s for everyone. It’s not just for those that can bend in half and put their legs behind their head. I would say majority of us didn’t come out of the womb like a pretzel. That’s why it’s a yoga practice. Most of you are practicing it right now and don’t even know it!
I look forward to sharing my adventures with you future and past. I hope you will enjoy them too and please message me your stories, your adventures!