Only in Colorado do I have to cue yogis to come down from arm balances.” ~Noah Maze
Well, what can I say, Noah? Your statement filled me with pride as I pushed my body through your exceptional LEAP! Class on day 2 of Hanuman. As my ego filled, I noticed how attached I was to accomplishing the postures you cued.
I heard a running dialogue in my mind:
“This class is great. My arms are getting pumped. I am going to be so much stronger. I have never been able to contort myself into Tittibhasana (Firefly Pose) and here I am holding it like a champ.
I should practice these arm balances everyday. Maybe I should add some pull ups into the mix. I could be ripped by the end of the summer. I am going to gain so much muscle. I could probably lose a couple of pounds too.”
And then, I fell right on my behind. I tried to get back in the pose, but I couldn’t stick it.
“Exhale only love.”
Kaci, Kaci, Kaci, where is the love? Where is the breath?
I strive for excellence by both my own and others’ standards, but what I was doing in that moment was not excellent. I was allowing my ego to grasp for power by standards that are fleeting. My arm strength and the length of time I can hold Tittibhasana are merely surface level measures of self worth.
You are as powerful as the wind;
You are intelligent, illustrious & an inventor.
There is nothing in this world that’s too difficult for you;
Whenever stuck, you are the one who can help.
-as told to Hanuman by Jambavantha
Forest sages put a curse on Hanuman to punish his orneriness as a child. He had many powers, superpowers if you will, but could not remember what they were unless someone told him.
Like Hanuman, I tend to forget the superpowers I possess until someone tells me about them. No matter where I am at in life, I push for more, looking to acquire power/achievement/virtue without giving reverence to what I already possess.
Hanuman Festival helped me to remember some of the powers I possess but had forgotten. These powers have nothing to do with the size of my biceps, but more with the size of my heart and the strength of my character. As I interacted with teachers and fellow students, I remembered that I am kind. I value people. I give genuine, loving hugs-shining my heart wide open. I have the ability to experience pure joy in watching a solar powered bubble machine or the swing of a hula hoop.
The more I know and love myself, the more I can help raise the vibration.
As I immerse myself back into my normal routine, I hold onto the knowledge of my capabilities. I use the skills I learned from instructors to enhance and encourage the virtues I already have and to nurture those I am inviting into my life. As I open and strengthen my body in asanas, my heart opens to others. I hope to help them recognize the power of the unique superhero inside of themselves.
I am more relaxed. I am more detached with those that interact with me in aggressive or uncaring ways. Now, I view all of us as having the same curse the sages put on Hanuman when he was a little boy. We all possess powers we do not remember. Sometimes this forgetfulness causes us to act hostile or defensive in an attempt to hide our feelings of weakness. With faith, love and the story of Hanuman, we know that we each possess inside of us something larger and more powerful than the strength of our arms, the shape of our hips or the success of our business.
As Jambavantha said to Hanuman, I say to you, me and everyone:
“No other living creature has your strength, wisdom and radiance. Why are you sitting quiet, not knowing yourself?”
Namaste and Blessings.