Monday, June 27, 2005

When Things Fall Apart

A few years back, Pema Chodron wrote a book I've never read called When Things Fall Apart. For some reason I find that to be a compelling book title. It's stuck in my head all these years even though I don't know the first thing about what's between the covers!

Maybe it's compelling because I know what it feels like when things start to fall apart. Who doesn't?

My mom's been real sick lately. Today she went back into the hospital. At times it's confusing. Often it's exhausting. Frustration is running high. And the stakes are high, too. Family and friends are frazzled.

Yesterday was Sunday. I was sitting with my mom. I said to my dad, "what time does church start?" At first he said he wasn't going. Then he stopped himself and said he would get ready and go. Off he went.

My dad's been going to church with dedication and regularity for as long as I've been alive, and long before that. His church community, his daily practices, his studies, his quiet times and selfless charitable service have all been a part of the discipline that has sustained him throughout every phase of his life.

And once again, the going's gotten tough. But now he's torn between two very strong values: his strong loving commitment to his wife and his strong loving committment to the practices that have enriched and strengthened him.

At times, it appears as though he can't keep both commitments.

I see this in yoga, too. When the going gets tough, some students quit yoga.

Holiday stress? No time for yoga.
Complicated summer vacation schedule? I'll get back to yoga later.
Nagging injury? Better pass on yoga for awhile.
Big project at work? I'll start back at yoga when the project's done.

My dad's wise enough to know that when the going gets tough, you don't abandon the very thing that has nourished you all along.

Some of my yoga students know it, too. When the going gets tough, they do more yoga.

It sounds as trite as a t-shirt slogan. But it's no less true. If yoga's been very good to you, don't ditch it when you need it most. Do more yoga to get more of the benefits you need when circumstances are challenging.

Years ago, I had a student who was scheduled for a hysterectomy. But I didn't know it until I started seeing her in yoga class every day. Some days, I saw her twice. I finally asked her, "What's going on? You're here all the time these days." She told me she took two weeks off from work to get ready for surgery. During those two weeks she was doing as much yoga as she possibly could.

Here's the shocker. Three days after her surgery she was back in a gentle yoga class. And she was feeling great.

When her life presented a major challenge, she was able to set other things aside and focus on the practices that would lift her spirits, charge her body with vital energy, and boost her immune system. She did what she could to purify her body and refresh her outlook.

You can, too.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., In my last Daily Yoga Tip message I said I would write about how to distinguish between good pain and bad pain. Sorry, it didn't go out today. Soon. Very soon.

p.p.s. I also told you I'd soon break the news about an exciting new project. Our Experience Sanskrit workshop pariticpants in St. Louis Saturday loved it when they got their hands on it. You will too. Here's a clue from my message today: "It sounds as trite as a t-shirt slogan. But it's no less true." Keep looking here for information. More will be revealed.

p.p.p.s., I've changed my teaching schedule at Show Me Yoga Center. It's effective when we return from the July 4th holiday break. The new schedule will let me spend more time with my mom. You can find out more at

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


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