Happy New Year. The last month or so, I had found myself not in my best head. I had been having a bit of writers block but also felt the weight on my shoulders of not writing as it is often therapeutic for me. A few days ago, I read a short Indian tale that helped me realize my own battle and allowed me to move back to a positive place. As soon as I read it, I knew it was meant to be my inspiration for this week.
ONE EVENING, AN ELDERLY CHEROKEE BRAVE TOLD HIS GRANDSON ABOUT A BATTLE THAT GOES ON INSIDE PEOPLE.
HE SAID “MY SON, THE BATTLE IS BETWEEN TWO ‘WOLVES’ INSIDE US ALL. ONE IS EVIL. IT IS ANGER, ENVY, JEALOUSY, SORROW, REGRET, GREED, ARROGANCE, SELF-PITY, GUILT, RESENTMENT, INFERIORITY, LIES, FALSE PRIDE, SUPERIORITY, AND EGO.
THE OTHER IS GOOD. IT IS JOY, PEACE, LOVE, HOPE, SERENITY, HUMILITY, KINDNESS, BENEVOLENCE, EMPATHY, GENEROSITY, TRUTH, COMPASSION AND FAITH.”
THE GRANDSON THOUGH ABOUT IT FOR A MINUTE AND THEN ASKED HIS GRANDFATHER: “WHICH WOLF WINS?…”
THE OLD CHEROKEE SIMPLY REPLIED,”THE ONE THAT YOU FEED”
I read this story to each of my classes this past week, and as we began to warm the body with Suynamaska A and B, I reminded them to ask themselves which “Wolf” they were feeding.
As we flowed through our poses, we realized that the mat is a very powerful place to practice feeding the “Good Wolf”. Many of the “Evil Wolf” qualities can show themselves in our yoga practice. Feeling Envious of someone’s pose or body is an example. Inferiority (harsh judgment of ourselves) is another and Ego is potentially the most powerful. Ego on the mat can bring us past our edge physically to injury and create judgment in the mind. So, we practiced making the choice to feed our “Good Wolf” by being Kind and Generous with ourselves which leads us closer to our Truth.
Even as we explored more advanced poses such as Eka Pada Koundinyasana (pictured above) I reminded the students to “feed their Good Wolf” by finding Joy in the trying and Compassion for themselves along the journey. By feeding the “Good Wolf” within the safe space of our yoga mat, we become better able to do it off the mat.
Whether on the mat or off the mat both of these “Wolves” live inside us. However, we get to CHOOSE which one we nurture; which one we “Feed”. What I have found over the past few weeks is that the “Evil Wolf” is sneaky… there does not need to be some huge negative event or moment in your life to draw out the “Evil Wolf”. A series of small frustrations or annoyances can strengthen it quickly. What I have also learned however is that the “Good Wolf” is tough and resilient and even if it is not fully nourished for a time, it can become stronger and overpower the “Evil Wolf” as soon as it is fed again.
We wound down the practice and the students transitioned into their rest. As they came out of Savasana, we sat together in quiet meditation for a last moment together. I asked them to pledge to themselves in this new year to feed their “Good Wolf”; to allow it to be strong and nourished as it will guide them on their journey towards their dreams. I also thanked them for sharing their “Good Wolf” energy with me as that energy was just one more way I could feed my own. Wishing peace and love to all in 2016. Namaste.