At the end of my teacher training, I sat in the center of a circle while the people around me “bombed” me with love. One friend said, “You are a very dedicated person, and I respect that.” She was right. Since childhood, I’ve been good at dedicating myself to whatever holds my attention. You could find me on the soccer field with my yellow Labrador playing a game of keep away most nights of the week.
My husband recently commented on this same trait, talking me off a ledge by reminding me most of the pressure I put on myself is internal. I in turn reminded him that this is part of the reason I find success in things; I demand a lot of myself and am dedicated to the results.
But our yoga practice doesn’t ask us to be dedicated. It asks us to be devoted.
The Sanskrit word for devotion is Bhakti, which translates into a variety of English words including adoration, warmth and participation. It implies a mutual love; whatever we are devoted to is also devoted to us.
Devotion is harder for me than dedication. I respond well to structure, rules, and straight lines. Softness, warmth, openness and vulnerability do not come as easily to me. Devotion asks me to put the results aside in my daily practice and simply enjoy being in practice.
As we enter the final weeks of this year, now is a time for devotion to ourselves and our practice.
We are invited to say, “Thank you!” for everything our bodies have done for us this year and use our practice as praise. How can you put this into action on your mat? Perhaps you indulge in your breath a bit more, stay a little while longer in savasana, soak in moments of rest, treat yourself to extra doses of water, or simply move with more intention and less demand.
Lisa will be offering a special “Devotion to Self” practice on Christmas Eve, December 24, at 9:30am.
I’ll be there with my body, thanking it for carrying me through radiation and pregnancy in a 12 month period. I’ll be there doing my best to soften into devotion and steer away from prescriptive dedication. Join me.