Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Finding Happiness and Joy in Every Moment: NItya Karma

In my path to finding myself, yoga has become the epicenter of it all. In seeking peace and positivity I leapt into the open arms of yoga and my practice has blossomed beyond my own imagination. The possibilities are endless for where I will go from here. Yoga has found its way off my mat and into my daily life, I think about it through out my day and I live it by extending the benefits of my yoga practice to the people around me. While it can be trying at times, I try my best to extend patience and compassion to all those I encounter (well as much I can-it's hard to think like a yogi when your working in a bar).  Through this practice, it has helped seal in the benefits and weave them into a permanent place in my life, with dedication and patience I can aspire to achieve my goals.
Recently Teresa,  one of my amazing yoga instructors at Happy-U Namaste had mentioned a concept called "Nitya Karma," that intrigued me. After doing some research I found that...
Nitya Karma is the art of daily living. Foundational to all Vedic sciences, it teaches the natural law of the universe that is fundamental to Yoga, Ayurveda, and Tantra. There are things we do not choose to do that are necessary for life such as eating, sleeping, and breathing. Through these practices we can improve our lives by sustaining balance and harmony in the outer world that supports our inner spiritual development.(Click here for resource)
To honor Nitya-Karma we try to find the beauty in the every day, ordinary things. She related this to our practice by suggesting that we try to move as mindfully as possible to really feel each subtle nuance as we moved gracefully through our class. Upon leaving she reminded us to find the extraordinary in the ordinary and to really look around at the beautiful world we live in with a present mind.

Later that week I  was adding some photos to my computer after a camping trip and found untouched photos from earlier this year of a "sunset-y" kind of night here in Ocean beach. It was just another night,  making dinner and relaxing at home and we had decided to take our dog Boston out for a walk to the dog beach to catch the sunset. I got so excited at the idea and like a five year old I had to pick which toy to bring with me, ukulele or camera, I was stuck in a terrible pickle. I wanted to play my uke reeeeaaal bad but I glanced out side and saw the patchy clouds turning pink and orange and made the choice to grab the ol Nikon.

In this fairly habitual task of walking the dog, we chose to make it special for no reason at all. We followed the golden glow of the sunset as if following the call of the inner beach bum to the waves. What a beautiful sunset it was, colors unimaginable. Not just the colors, but the glow; there was some kind of magic in the air. Such a sight to be seen, the warm breeze breathed into my soul and filled me with delight.

Together my husband and I have seen hundreds of sunsets, some ordinary while others sparkle with indescribable majesty, and of them this one was truly inspiring. The wonder of nature took us aback along with a sea of other sun seekers, some local "Obecians" and others nationwide travelers following the sound of the great pacific.

As per usual, Boston felt at ease amongst his furry buddies down at dog beach. My trigger happy  finger snapped away at my camera trying to capture the perfect shot. In all of his missteps and clumsy ways he remains to be quite a beautiful creature; a gentle beast who knows nothing of hatred and full of love to give.

A we glanced around, it was hard to figure out which way to look as every direction was blossoming into a multicolored day dream of sorts, all shifting with the setting sun.

Allright so now that were done getting caught up in what was one of the coolest sunsets i've ever seen, lets move on to the point of this story. Were there real magic begins. As we headed home to resume our evening of calm weeknight rituals, I paused to take notice of the amazing moon shinning through the clouds. 

Behind me I could hear the sound of my dog's deep bark and I turned to see him attempting to hurdle over the cement barricade. What had gotten in to this dog? He was going nuts! As we look up where his loud bellows were headed we spied a special treat. Our amazing friends who had also heard the call of the sea. 

We all squealed with delight! Of course we say things like "well what are the odds?" or "lucky meeting you here" but we all know that we are all freakishly in tune with one another as if we operate on the same frequencies all the time. 

And while to someone else, one might look at this images and say that they are blurry or have no composition I can only see a beautiful moment that I captured to keep forever. I love the action that implies that they couldn't wait to greet us, the dogs running and everyone smiling. We are so incredibly lucky to have all of this here in our little beach community. Its almost like maybe heaven isn't a place we go when we die, but the place we are when we feel ALIVE! 

No matter how small or meaningless this little rendezvous may or could have been, it will be a random memory that I cherish forever because it reminds me that even during the in-between moments there is something new and fresh to take in and be grateful for. No matter how many moments from shows or events that are Facebook worthy or Instagram material, there will always be those moments hiding in what you believe to be dull, just waiting to surprise you and all you have to do it look for it. 

It is possible to find happiness and joy in every movement, from the deepest part of my heart I believe it to be true. My greatest wish for everyone that I have the pleasure to know is to find that too. 

"May All beings everywhere be happy and free"


More on Nitya- Karma

-------With explanations from http://www.avgsatsang.org/

Nitya-Karma are daily obligatory duties that one must fulfill according to hindu religion.  "The concept comes from a sense of obligation" and that obligation comes from birth, a human is born in debated to three things; one's parents and ancestors, the sages (wise elders), and to the divine. Without going into to much talk on the hindu religion (of which I know very little), the basics of this idea is that out of love and respect to those three things we behave a certain way and do certain things Nitya-Karma fulfills ones obligations by being mindful of the daily duties and rituals that go on throughout the day, by doing these activities that are done every day (bathing, brushing our teeth, going to work, meditation, prayer, studying, etc) one repays the debt to the ancestors, the sages, and the gods. I don't believe that you have to be of the hindu faith to apply this practice in your own spiritual way or even in a non spiritual way. It is simply an act of being grateful and respectful.

"Nitya-Karma helps us over come self-centeredness"
When we recognize that we have been receiving help from all these sources, we become humble. Slowly, the concern for one’s own individual self diminishes and we begin to have a larger view of life. We appreciate the fact that we are not isolated beings, but a part of the whole scheme of life. We are what we are because of the contribution that we have received from the rest of the world. Therefore, we should function as a link in a whole chain, interconnected with everything else. There is a statement in Sanskrit ‘vāsudaiva kutumbhakam’, which means that the whole universe is one family. When we live in an unselfish manner, we function as members of the universal family; this is the spirit engendered by the performance of duties. The larger the scope of that with which we identify, the easier it becomes to come out of our self-centeredness. This is the spirit behind karma-yoga, which is taught in the Bhagavad Gita and technically expressed in this text as nitya and naimittika-karma, the daily and incidental duties that are performed in the spirit of worship.

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