Small Blessings Blog

The Ashram is Here

Jai Ram Kaur Hergo - Sunday, July 14, 2013

"Grist Ashram, Mahan Ahram. Devee Dev Poojde.

This household life is so great, that the angels and divine worship it."

So said Guru Nanak, the originator of what is now Sikhism. He lived from 1469 to 1539.

This household life is so great... Is this what you're thinking when you're reluctantly awake in the middle of the night feeding your baby? Does this course through your mind as you mediate fighting siblings? Or as you exchange weary looks with your partner? I would be lying if I said I always feel that. But I do appreciate the truth in it.

In Kundalini Yoga we don't have a tradition of leaving family and work to go off into a cave or an ashram to find peace Nope. We've got to find it in the midst of all this. In the MIDST of it. Yogi Bhajan, founder of Kundalini Yoga in the West, emphasised that he was giving us technologies to see us through our increasingly busy lives. It's a householders' yoga, which is why it is also so damned effective. We don't have time for it not to be.

Breaking it down, it is Grist Ashram. All this is grist for the mill. So next time you're feeling challenged and some part of you wishes to escape, try breathing in, breathing out, and saying simply .. YES. Yes to it all. Yes. That yes is so noble, so dignified, it will dignify you. It will lift you up and redefine you. In being there for our children, really being there, we need to have a deep YES available. One that can take in everything and hold it. The boon of this of course is that in embracing all we get bigger.

We say you need a strong nervous system to be a parent. You need a strong nervous system to be able to hold all that is going on without cracking, without shaking, without breaking. It's when we break, when we can't hold the situation, that we might end up reacting rather than responding with presence. It's not good, not bad, but it is a reaction conditioned by the past and so we are in that moment not really present.

Good exercises for strengthening the nervous system are Triangle Pose (aka Downward Dog) and all exercises which test the arms. Breathing deeply and slowly, suspending the inhale and the exhale for a bit (but not the exhale when pregnant) also calms both sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

Grist Ashram, Mahan Ashram. I don't know about you, but it helps me to realise that the struggles, the grist of life, are actually what is making me an interesting person (so I like to believe). When you look back at the end of your life which of your experiences will have had the greatest and most valuable impact on who you are? Mahan means great. This ashram of life is the greatest ashram there is. There is peace at the very heart of it. Peace at the very heart of you, as a woman, as a mother. Always.

"Within us lives the most calm, serene lake of wisdom, the most beautiful, powerful pond of kindness, compassion and clarity. Let us understand and let us dive into it within ourselves." Yogi Bhajan.

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