Tag Archives: joy

The Yoga of Emptying a Dishwasher

Yoga can be defined as union. I love the feeling when I have a sense of harmony, and wholeness. My body, my mind and my energy are moving at the same speed and toward the same purpose. I am connected directly to my focus or my purpose.

Sometimes my purpose is to empty the dishwasher. :/

If you hang around my house, you might hear me lament loudly about my dishwasher and kitchen duties. These duties often appear to be endless. I have a small European style dishwashing machine, and I seem to be standing over this appliance much of the day. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for this little miracle machine that makes my plates sparkle! I am completely aware that this is a first world problem. My reaction of frustration rightly proves that I am not always in the state of yoga.

The state of yoga allows us to cope and thrive through the ups and downs of life. When we are in the state of yoga, we let the external information come into our mind and consciousness but it does not consume us. When we are in the state of yoga, we have right actions. When we are in the state of yoga there is an efficiency and lightness that wells up in us. One has focus. A soft kind of focus that can overcome disruption, and the usual and unusual happenings of life.

When yoga happens and I am emptying a dishwasher, I notice nothing else around me. The only experience I am having is between me and my sparkling cutlery. I am unconcerned with an email I need to send or even a piece of dirt on the floor. These thoughts float by me to be brought back at a later time. I direct the plates, cups and bowls to their homes in their shelves and drawers. Here is where is gets interesting. With a soft eye, I notice how the plates and cups and bowls are stacked and my body/mind/breath are connected and attentive. Without consciously thinking, my body chooses a specific hand to pick up plates and stack them gracefully knowing the mixing spoon can go in the other hand and then there is no juggling or extra steps to get them to their homes.

I love how much joy I take in this little flow or vinyasa of movement and how the dishes, spoons and pots all find their way back to their places in the most effortless way. When I am in this state, I notice the dishwasher is emptied faster and I am calmer. This chore is very different when I am not in the state of yoga. I am rushing, stomping and, dare I say, grumbling.  These times when I have something else on my mind – the experience is loud and inefficient.

I thought my “yoga of dishwashing” experience was something only I noticed. It so happened that I was hosting a visitors from overseas and she watched me while I cooked a breakfast for a house full of people. She said that she found it interesting to watch me work and she commented that no movement was wasted and each task was fluid and calm. The experience, she said, compared to watching a ballet and it was peaceful and efficient. We know it when we feel this, don’t we? Time flies by. We do not feel tired. She caught me on a good day. A day of yoga.

Being present can be heavy lifting but it is worth the practice. With this practice, we will be most efficient, most calm, and most happy. I invite you to watch yourself and others. Look for a connection. When you see it in others, you will feel calmer. When you focus on only the task in front at hand, you experience it yourself and you will feel more easeful and so will others around you. Start with the small things in your day. Focus on one thing and enjoy it. We are always pushing ourselves to work on the big stuff. Perhaps start with the small stuff like emptying the dishwasher, watering the plants, and grooming the dog to find that sweet connection.

Our yoga off the mat is the most important aspect of our practice. The little things add up. My wish is that you take time to cultivate and enjoy a time in yoga today.

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Kimberly Mantas

Find Kimberly at Mantasyoga.com. Kimberly is a certified yoga therapist, meditation and yoga teacher and teacher trainer. Contact Kimberly at Kimberly@mantasyoga.com

Becoming more You – Riding the waves of change

I’m happy you are here! Building the capacity for inquiry is important for our positive evolution. We must learn to discern, evaluate and adapt our yoga and life practices to serve our current needs.

Yoga is a personal experiential practice to me, and my practice is woven within me in a way that brings a comfort that I would find hard to explain. Yoga is personal but it isn’t necessarily solitary. The many beautiful souls and wise people I learn and evolve from, the shared conversations and practices and the time spent in community all make my journey such a joy and a gift. My teachers, students, family and friends all make up my experience where I explore how to become more “me”. I am thankful that you all hold me in your sphere of influence and allow me to learn, grow, question, succeed and fail. If I want to make changes and I am unsure how to proceed I speak with my teachers, my friends and other professionals. I look to make the best decision in the moment, and I endeavor not to “put up” with a lack of function or a physical or emotional difficulty. I want to build new positive patterns.

Do I fail? Yes, I mostly fail, but with each effort I make I am building successful patterns.

Yoga and Ayurveda tell us that everything that is manifest is in transition. The seasons change, our body makeup changes, our mind and thought processes develop and decline. So, if this is the case, why would we keep our practice the same season to season and decade to decade. If we are always changing, then what is best for us is also changing. Then we must try to be aware and in the present to help us make the best decisions and to adapt and grow. Don’t get me wrong, we must have a sustained regular yoga and meditation practice, but we must also evolve with our changing needs. Jumping from idea to idea isn’t a great or productive tactic and it will not serve to help us develop efficiently. That is why during the change of seasons, it is a natural place for me to take a pause and make small thoughtful changes.

I am always evaluating what might be best for me, but during these natural transitions, I take time to evaluate my practice to help me serve my higher purpose and improve my lived experience. I have many considerations I think about to help me evaluate.

As an example, I consider some of the following. You can also take some time to consider your answers to these questions and how your practice on and off the mat is helping you enjoy and manage the ups and downs of your life?

Do I:

-recover and stay balanced with the joys and the sorrows of life?

-have an injury that is not healing?

-feel like I am going in the same circle?

-feel inspired and joyful?

-sleep well?

-generally feel sluggish, or restless?

-feel my body is feeling energetic and without discomfort?

-startle easily or do I feel numb?

-have a good digestion process?

And:

-How is my relationship with myself?

-How are my relationships with others?

-Is there an activity or experience that I would like to do that you can’t do now?

The many practices of yoga are there to help us improve our lived experience. For me, I allow myself to rest in a quiet space and to see how I am truly feeling. Then I make changes to my practice. The considerations I make are not just the change of the seasons but for everything that is happening in my life. Sometimes I get things right and sometimes wrong, but I always make a conscious effort to continue to be patient with myself and others as I navigate becoming the most fulfilled and at ease in my skin that I can be.

One small piece of this change is how our personal doshic makeups and experiences are affected by the seasons. We are moving into Vata season (fall and winter) and this is where we look to counteract or balance the drying effects of the Vata time of year. I make some small changes such as changing my diet from fresh salads to warming soups and stews, and the root vegetables that are in season. I make sure I practice nadi shodhana or alternate nostril breath to balance my bodies and mind making me feel more less scattered and safer.  I incorporate warm oils in and on the body make me feel less achy and dry.

There might be changes you have made that have served you well. You intuitively knew what you needed. Take some time to consider what you need. Consider this statement in a heartfelt way and away from the cognitive process of the mind. You are looking for your ego to not be involved.

Take a moment in quiet meditation where you can rest in the space of acceptance and perfection. There, your most inner needs will unfold. Remember to listen.