By Amiee Reiss
Ok let me tell you what my Hanuman highway looks like in hopes that it will resonate with some of you in this amazing Goddess kula and help you reconcile something in your own lives. For those of you that don’t know me I sell bonds for a Wall Street firm, teach yoga and I have a 6-month old baby girl, Layla. I have struggled incredibly making the transition to full-time working mom and reconciling the life I have chosen to live and the life I desire to live. Many of you I’m sure have your ideas about the finance profession or know it first-hand but it’s fair to say there is little to no communication inside firms as a matter of fact and Hanuman is as foreign an idea as that of moderation. That lack of communication diminishes the potential for success and for greatness as an institution. So, disguised as Hanuman, the two owners of my firm took a huge leap of faith and decided to integrate Steve Zaffron from the Vanto Group to lead 60 employees thru a rigorous 8-day 2-part seminar on the Philosophy of Language. The Vanto group deems this language the language of Transformation. Of course, me, the heady yoga-teacher, was completely empowered by the whole concept but unfortunately was among the few who embraced this philosophy. To me they were speaking Rajanika and all I could think about was Hanuman…. This course became a highway for me to reconcile my professional and personal lives – to make every aspect of my life more meaningful especially the parts that are more difficult to love. I gained access to a new and radical paradigm for thinking about my place in the greater whole of my career and concluded that I must wear my (hanuman) tail proudly and in style.
The beautiful thing about this practice and especially the one on our mats is that it creates a context in which we can frame our existence…a really safe context compared to the context of our everyday lives, but a context nonetheless. The mat is about moments. It’s about our breath. It’s about authentic listening. When we listen to ourselves and our breath what we are doing with that breath is putting our awareness into application – giving it authority. The way you empower yourself is to be accountable for yourself, in every moment. Nothing is significant unless you give it power. So just imagine the transformations, the shifts we can make possible in our lives if we move from our greatest most optimal, intelligent, kind, loving self. The Vanto Group defines Integrity as: “Optimal capacity, whole, complete, lacking no essential parts.”
We as free empowered individuals have the opportunity thru our awareness in every moment to choose how we want to shape our lives so why not choose extraordinary? The irony is the more we resist the flow, the current of life, the more difficult life becomes. Isn’t it hard enough already? Why do we make it harder for ourselves? The context of this yoga that we practice gives us the space to create. Zaffron says, “Who you are is the space in which you give your word. So if you want to honor yourself you honor your word.” Ask yourself are you accountable for your word and can you let go of anything that’s getting in your way of being your greatest most productive self? More importantly, can you move through every facet of your life from a place of love so that you can inspire yourself and in turn inspire everyone around you? Imagine how powerful and transformative that can be for any organization, any conversation, any dance of life let alone one as combative, non-communicative and resistant as Wall Street.
I’m reading Marianne Williamson’s “A Return to Love” and, poignantly, here is what she says in her chapter “Work: Surrendering our careers”: “Seeing your strengths exactly as they are, and equally aware of where they can be best applied, for what, to whom and when, (life) chooses and accepts your part for you.” She says, “You’re in business to spread love. Your life should spread love. The key to a successful career is realizing that it’s not separate from the rest of your life, but is rather an extension of your most basic self. And your most basic self is love…. What you want to do is not the important question. The question to ask is, “When I do anything, how should I do it?” And the answer is, “Kindly.” People don’t normally associate business with kindness, because business has come to be regarded as simply a tool for making money. Miracle-workers are not in business only to make money; they’re in business to inject love into the world.”
Steve asked us to think about how the world “occurs to us” in these single ordinary moments, in every conversation we participate in because that’s what this is really all about. Bottom line? We possess influence over how our lives occur to us…not what happens but how it occurs to us, our perspective. Do you know how powerful that is if you can own that freedom of choice – be accountable for it?! So again I’ll ask, if we have this choice, who wouldn’t want their lives to “occur” to them in an extraordinary and profound way? We can believe it and practice it and read about it, but this yoga, this practice, is only effective, truly transformational when it’s put into action, into the conversation and the context of our lives. If you can bring your life and all its wildness inside and meet it with your heart like Hanuman does so well and love it unconditionally, then you will without a doubt notice a shift. That is the idea of Shri – abundant love and learning how to recognize and access it.
So that’s my ride on Hanuman Highway – no more coasting. Just as our asana practice evolves, the deeper we engage, the more attention we give to the transformative moments, the more we will grow as practitioners of life. I’ll leave you with a crucial point – u gotta learn how to trust, let go, and most importantly breathe FIRST. Because it’s from that soft open place and only from that soft open place that we are able to bring everything in our sometimes mundane often unfair but always-beautiful lives into our hearts and infuse it with love.
Peace First; Love Always and Forever,