Protect your heart

Always, but especially this year I've been torn between the options of living with an open giving and completely vulnerable heart and also preventing it from being hurt. In my opinion you couldn't  really do both at the same time. As much as avoiding pain seems the easier and less hurtful option sometimes, I strongly believe that you can't really choose what comes in or out of your heart so by avoiding this harmful energies we are also blocking love, joy and beauty coming in as well as diminishing our capacity to give. A heart that doesn't give or receive to its fullest potential, starts to weaken, just as any other muscle that we don't exercise  enough. This is not how I want to live my life. I have spent a lot of time working on myself to be more open, loving and happy and I don't want to go back to being less open and vulnerable in order to avoid  being hurt sometimes. It seemed like a lose lose situation. This year to me has been all about this question and finally I think I've come up with a satisfying answer. A good friend said it to me very simply: "Protect your heart" The way I see it now,  protecting your heart  is not about keeping it in an iron box or a crystal cage, or about creating filters to choose which energies it gives or receives. In order to live fully and wholeheartedly, your heart must remain wide open giving all and receiving just as much with each heartbeat. This means that we are going to get hurt and sometimes give what others might say is too much. I don't agree there is too much, but that's another question. Some people will receive and honour what your heart has to give while others will simply dismiss it and even ridicule it. Your wide open heart will receive love and beauty from others and the world around it but it will also receive the hardest blows, stabs and wounds. It will be torn and ripped and left to die. This is just life. The only way to really protect your heart then is not by trying to choose what comes in and out of it or try to prevent it from being hurt. The only way to protect your heart is by making it stronger and more resilient. How do we do this then?…

On Integrity and Forgiveness

  Integrity has always been a quality I value  most and that I try to keep as much as I can.  In the past couple of weeks, however I feel like I have been tested on it. We all have values in which we base our moral guidelines or honour codes we follow. Ideally as we become more conscious, we discover these truths, guidelines or honour codes as they appear more from within, from our spirit, and less from social conditions. To me integrity means adhering to these guidelines no matter what. Each time we discover one of these sacred truths we make a commitment with ourselves,  with our spirit and each time we fail we are only failing and damaging our most important relationship, the one with our spirit. In the Ashtanga Yoga  tradition these guidelines come in the form of what we call Yamas and Niyamas. Also that's why the concept of Sadhana is crucial to success in any spiritual practice. The commitment of daily practice no matter what is, again,  done with our spirit. One of these truths I try to follow is seeing all beings as one and loving all unconditionally. And this is the one I'm usually tested the most on. See, the thing is, it is very easy to say we love all and one. Sounds great as an idea. But in the real world,  when we feel betrayed by someone we love the easiest reaction is anger or hatred. The problem here is that this goes against the sacred truth that we are all one and thus we should love each other the same, without conditions. And whenever we get angry at someone or pretend hating someone, we are just hurting ourselves. Here is where forgiveness comes in to save the day. It is not easy though, because forgiving means opening up again to being hurt. Becoming vulnerable. We are so silly that we don't realise that after forgiveness being hurt is just a possibility but without it hurting and suffering become constants. [caption id="attachment_209" align="alignright" width="336"] "Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." - Mark Twain[/caption] Forgiving someone doesn't mean coming back to a failed relationship or hanging out with someone that may or may not hurt you no matter what. Forgiving happens and stays within. It is self love and self respect healing you from inside. It has taken me…

The Spiritual Seeker: The Ultimate Rebel

Spirituality is the unending hunger for finding who we really and truly are. One day some of us realise that we’ve been believing a lie. A lie constructed by the thoughts of who we are, the ideas of who others think we are, the way we want to portray ourselves. The way society wants us to be, etc… We’ve been living in a cell and all of a sudden something appears,  a tiny crack in the wall that lets us see a tiny part of the real universe outside. And so, spirituality awakens. We realise there’s something else and we want the truth. All of it! Spirituality is first manifested as rebellion. We rebel against all false ideas, conditions and misconceptions of who we really are, against rules, society and everything that limits us and keeps us from awakening our awareness and expanding our consciousness. Then it becomes a quest, a constant search for truth and Self. We become spiritual seekers. Spirituality is an internal battle, and the biggest fight is always against ourselves. Rebelling against imposed ideas, others and society is easy. But questioning yourself your ideas of truth, love and happiness is a whole different beast and it really hurts. Standing against yourself, the people you love and care for is not easy. You have to choose between the truth or being complacent. And either way it’s going to hurt. Because once you’ve had a little taste of the truth, even the  littlest compromise  will burn you from inside. Your blood will become molten rock as your heart screams at you, calling you a liar, a hypocrite. But even this is not as painful as living in the lie, locked inside that prison of ignorance and unawareness. Now there is no other option; we have to break free. And thus, we become outcasts, misfits, hermits, the crazy ones. The others won’t like us. They will feel threatened as we stand against everything they are and they believe in, everything we were and we believed in. They will laugh at us, ridicule us, attack us and even criminalise us. We travel far trying to find others like us, we walk unchartered territories drawing our own path and creating new realities, new ways of living. Not because we don’t want part of humanity, but because we know there’s nothing human about the current disconnected paradigm. We want humanity not society, community not…

Old Scrap Notes

I haven’t written here for a while. Today as I was cleaning and clearing my flat I found a few old notebooks, some scrap notes and drawings that I made in the last couple of years. Some made me laugh. Some I didn’t understand and these few I thought I would share: I want to look right there. Live right there where only you know. Meet your soul there And be. Once. Always. Forever. Now (Mexico City, 2014) -o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o- Brother, sister talk to me.   Brother, sister don’t leave me.   We smoked from the pipe We drank the tea We are the type that they never see   We feel what others just sense We are what they dream We jumped the fence We bathe in the stream   Brother, sister You are the love that flows through me You are now a part of me (Pachamama, Costa Rica November 2012) -o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o- Will you soon become just a memory? I wonder what it is that I will remember the most… Will it be your smell or the way you walk? Or maybe your smile this morning as I woke up.   Will I remember you laughing? Will I remember that kiss that never was? -o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o- Love and Happiness, Mannu

Be a man and be brave!!!

Be a man and be brave!!! Understand, however, that being brave is not what we've been conditioned to believe. True courage means letting go of masks and letting others see and touch your soul. Connecting heart to heart with every other living being. Being completely vulnerable and not afraid of being hurt. Being hurt will happen and is part of the process. But the process is worth it and is all that matters. There is no result. Recognize the masculine – feminine duality as two complementing energies. We’ve been conditioned to believe that all dualities oppose each other. Light and dark, good and evil, etc. But this couldn’t be  further from the truth. All these forces and dualities need and complement each other. Working together constantly to create, transform and destroy realities. Be a man and be able to stand in front of another soul and lose yourselves into each other's eyes forever. Let her see right through you. Give yourself away to her completely, your heart, your soul and your body. Recognize the divine in her as you recognize the divine in you. Knowing each other as part of The One. Treat her with the respect and love that something so sacred and divine demands. Be a man who laughs and cries. Be a man who cares and supports. Be a man who needs. Be a man who will know his faults and mistakes. Be a man who is humble about his strengths and achievements. Be a man who wants to be kind rather than right. Be a man who loves wholeheartedly. Love and Happiness, Mannu

Sally and I

You never know where things you do in life are going to take you. Seriously, you just never know. You go traveling, your leg gets infected with a nasty flesh eating bug, and as result of this you meet a beautiful girl (This actually happened to my brother). Maybe you get fired from your job and you end up being really prosperous and successful doing what you really loved all your life. The list of examples could go on and outcomes are not always that drastic. However if you look back for a moment and pay close attention to all that has happened to you, I guarantee you you’ll realize that most significant events were not really planned and in the long run, even if they did not seem like that when they happened, were exactly what you needed in that moment to become a better version of yourself. When I started writing a blog regularly I only wanted an outlet for those things that were meaningful to me. Feelings, thoughts and emotions that I feel are better shared than held captive in my Self. What I didn’t know at the moment is that, as with everything in life and in nature, that outlet would never just be an outlet. It is always a two way passage. My writing has become a constant exchange of energy, of thoughts and feelings. A new opportunity for learning, growth and transformation. Most times the inflow comes from comments from readers. I have to admit that I have never responded well to compliments, and fortunately I have received many on my writing. This has really come as a surprise to me and I have to admit I have learned to receive and enjoy the compliments. Sometimes, this satisfaction comes from people signing up to follow your posts. All this compliments and satisfaction feel good on the soul and are always an inspiration to keep going and a teaching in themselves. It is always special when a fellow blogger likes and follows you. Yesterday I received a notification that another blogger was following me. As I read his own blog, I felt really flattered and humbled at the same time. Dennis Cardiff’s Blog tells the story of Dennis and his relationship with various homeless people in Canada he has befriended sometimes fed and always loved. He is planning on making a book out of his…

Namaste Madiba

To me,this week has been emotional to say the least. As I learned last week about Nelson Mandela’s fragile condition I remembered his book “ Long Walk To Freedom” and how it impacted my life ever since I read it a few years ago. As I reminisce on those pages today, the words take on a different meaning. Perhaps because now I am reading them as a Yogi and not just an admirer of the revolutionary (which I still am). This week I have been letting Mandela and his life inspire my practice on and off the mat. I have been reading his quotes in my classes and I have been hoping for him to either recover or leave his body in the most peaceful and dignified manner Mandela’s story is one of the most remarkable and multifaceted ones of our time. It is one of a young boy who came from a little rural town to become the first elected president of his Nation. It is also the story of a man who wouldn’t give up his beliefs of freedom and equality for all even if he had to sacrifice his family, his friends and his life. It is a tale of endurance and an example of how far can the human spirit go even when the body has been imprisoned and mistreated. But most importantly, I think, it is a story of transformation and humility. Most people know Mandela’s story. His 27 years long ordeal in prison and his coming to presidency and efforts in uniting a very segregated South Africa. What many tend to forget is that just before being imprisoned, and tired of the slow achievements of his movement, he created and lead the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or "Spear of the Nation." The MK was the violent, militarized wing of the African National Congress. He was responsible a few bombings, for organizing violent resistance and planning guerrilla warfare. However he wasn’t able to fulfill most of this plans as he was imprisoned in 1962. This is where, to me, the most inspiring part of Mandela’s story takes place. Something amazing happened to him in prison. He transformed. He changed from deep within. He turned resentment, bitterness and maybe even hatred into forgiveness. He changed violent revolution for peaceful resistance. He chose the path of Love. Some of the most remembered of Mandela’s tales take place…

Believe Again

Last night I found this post  while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed:  The story  itself is quite impressive : “For 12 hours, two herds of wild South African elephants slowly made their way through the Zululand bush until they reached the house of late author Lawrence Anthony, the conservationist who saved their lives.” However, what really caught my attention were the comments by the poster and her friends. Incredulity, to say the least was the common denominator. And this level of disbelief resumes many of the faults I find with our modern life. Science and progress (And I’ am in no way against either of them) have blessed us with longer life expectancy, worldwide easy travel and communication, freedom of information and many other gifts. The price we have paid though, has been a disconnection with our true essence and with the world. As we see the Universe each time more as something we can quantify, measure, predict and explain; our lives have become disenchanted and demystified. Some skeptics may believe this is for the better. I beg to differ. The world around us is full of magic and miracles. Life itself is a great mystery. Love is the greatest force in the Universe and there aren’t any quarks or neutrinos or elusive Higgs Boson particles around to account for it. Yet, who hasn’t felt Love? Rationalism and Scientific progress played a key role in the development of our culture, but now we need to learn that our mind does not have to be in antagonism with our spirit. It is time to combine all this knowledge with our innermost feelings. What good is the best smartphone if you have no one to talk, email or text to? We need to connect again. First of all with our own bodies, then our true selves and then with each other and the whole Universe to which we belong. The key is believing. Our mind will always try to trick us into not believing. That’s exactly it’s function: to process the information received by the senses about the world around us. But the mind knows nothing about that which the senses don’t perceive and we and the Universe are made up of much more than what the senses can perceive. We need to reprogram and reboot. We need to slow our minds down, open our hearts and believe again. Love and Happiness, Mannu…

It isn’t really that complicated…

It isn’t really that complicated… First of all you just have to find your path… How do you find your path? You don’t. Once you realize there’s nothing to look for, nowhere to look into and you stop looking, it will come and find you. But that’s not it. Not at all. That’s merely the beginning. Once you and your path have found and recognized each other, most likely you’ll find that your path is not right there in front of you. It’s almost like your looking at it from the top of a very high cliff. At least that’s what it will look like. So, most likely, you’ll find it difficult, almost impossible and quite scary to even approach it. Everything you think you know, everything you’ve always been told and everything you’ve always trusted will try to convince you you’re fine where you are. Why would you even consider jumping off a cliff to get into something you don’t know? You’re quite comfortable where you are. All of this won’t matter, because you and your path have already recognized each other. You’ve actually known each other for quite a long time. You just weren’t aware of it. One day, you’ll just have to close your eyes and jump. Some people call it a leap of faith, some people call it being brave, most people will actually think you’re insane!!! But it doesn’t matter what they call it or not because this is about you… About you and your path… And finally, you’re there. You’ve gone through all of your life to get here and yet, you’re just at the beginning of your path. You take one step… You take a second one… Each step is a  struggle, a blessing and a prayer in itself. So much to learn and the more you learn the more of yourself you have to give. The more you walk the longer the path gets. And it’s not an easy path to walk through, not at all… but always a beautiful one. Each step even more so than the last one. There’s no point in looking back, no use in knowing how much more is there to walk forward. You just have to keep on walking, breathing, fighting, sweating, enjoying, admiring, crying, dancing, and moving forward. Every now and then your path will join someone else’s path. You’ll hold hands, walk together for…

Yoga and Me

Last weekend I attended a weekend workshop with Kino MacGregor. Kino is an amazing world known Ashtanga teacher and I was very excited to learn from her. Although the weekend was mainly focused on Asana and technique, there was some time to discuss very briefly some of the more subtle and philosophical aspects of Yoga. At some point one of the attendees asked about the meaning of the word Yoga to which Kino responded something like this: "Yoga is a very broad concept and in India alone there are many different schools of yoga without counting the numerous ones recently created in the west. We could spend the day talking about yoga means union, or the Sutras say this or The Gita says that, but I would invite you to ask yourself what Yoga means to you..." Kino's reply was excellent. It left me wondering and gave inspiration for this post. In the most strict and brief manner, Yoga means union. However we must remember that translating Sanskrit is never that easy and, depending on the context, Yoga can translate as connect(ion), to add, contact, method, application or performance. Going back to Kino's question, what really made me think, and inspired this post. What does Yoga mean to me? Again, there is not a simple answer to this question. As a practitioner the first thing that yoga did for me was returning me that sense of possibility. Knowing that everything is achievable just by trying and then just discovering that the beauty is in the trying not the achieving. Yoga taught me that it is ok to be me however I am, as it is not where you are in your practice that matters but that you practice. Yoga taught me that life is great. Even in the most difficult moments life is great just as there are difficult asanas or moments in the practice. As I dived deeper into my practice, transformation started to manifest. First, in my body, but most importantly and surprising to me  in my relations. As I became more compassionate with my body and my Self, I became more compassionate, patient and understanding towards others. Yoga let me empty my Self with each exhale so that I could receive Love Happiness and blessings with the next inhale. At some point I started inhaling more Love and Happiness than I could contain. That's when I realised I had to teach.…