By Myra Lewin
I am blessed to live on a beautiful and abundant farm. My goal is to grow most of the food we eat, and some weeks we come close to that. However, one of the lessons that I learn daily from Durga Farms is vairagya, or non-attachment.
We plant seeds and give them all the right opportunities to thrive. But then nature throws us a curveball in its ever changing way. A blazing streak of heat in the summer, too much rain or an insect that enjoys our vegetables as much as we do. If I were to become attached to the idea that farming (or life) should be perfect or always go the way I think, I would not last very long as a farmer. Instead, I use the opportunity to support our farmer friends at the market.
In nature, fire is the great transformer. When a fire sweeps through a forest, the ground is made more fertile and space opens for new sprouts to rise. But when fire comes too often to a forest, or it burns for too long, it creates a place where little can survive.
What is true in nature is also true in us. Pitta dosha, the fire element within us, has the power to transform. When balanced, its power can make space for new experiences to grow. When imbalanced, it leads to an inhospitable environment where nothing can thrive. Learn to tame the fire within to use pitta’s power as a benefit, not a burden.
Our Yoga teacher trainings have a mix of students at many levels of practice. Some people have been practicing for decades. Others, just a few months. You might think that the students who have put in more time would be the ones who go the farthest in asana, but that is not necessarily true. Sometimes, those who have been practicing the longest have been pushing themselves beyond their body’s limits. Or they have been practicing out of habit, leading to stagnation. These students need to walk back to their true starting points to build a solid foundation. Sometimes that point is farther back than expected.
Ayurveda teaches us to eat as a practice of vairagya, or non-attachment, an act that requires moderation and balance. The way we bring moderation (and joy) into our kitchen is by using the foundation of the Hale Pule bowl. By rotating through a broad list of sattvic foods, herbs and spices, we get a lot of variety, avoid aggravating the doshas and don’t get attached to eating the same thing every day.
I have been practicing pranayama and meditation for a few years. In the beginning, I would find space for practice beside my bed or in the middle of our living room while the house was still asleep. When we moved, I found space in our spare room in the basement. I was excited to designate a space for my practice. The practice itself was relatively new to me, not very comfortable, like the space itself (being in the basement), but I continued. I continued because I enjoyed my days more when I did practice. Naturally, I also tried to find a way to share it with my family. One idea was that I would hold Yoga classes on Saturdays. My son, quite young at the time, would peek around while in meditation (I knew this only because I was peeking at him myself).
In the end, the organized family sessions did not find their way into our daily routine. I realized that it was challenging enough for me to stay consistent with my own practice without organizing others to do the same. Deep down I knew it was changing me even if I could not put my finger on as to how. And, every once in awhile, my daughter would find me and join, simply intrigued.