Set Aside “I Know”
A serious problem I see time and time again is when a student gains a little bit of experience in Yoga, and then stops wanting to listen. Luckily not everyone falls into this trap, but many do - enough for me to feel compelled to write about it.
The only way to continue the learning process is to not become consumed by “I know”. This doesn’t mean you must falsely consider yourself bereft of all knowledge no matter how much you learn. It just means that the phrase “I know” shouldn’t be in the forefront of your mind when you step onto the mat (at least not if you actually want to learn). Putting “I know” into the back of your mind when you get on the mat is the only way to truly remain open to learning, and doing this is called cultivating a beginner’s mind.
Cultivating a beginner’s mind means approaching each class as though it’s your first. It means listening to each instruction as though it’s the first time you’re hearing it (no matter how many times you've heard instructions for that pose).
It also means refraining from skipping ahead if you think you know where the teacher is going, or if you actually do know where the teacher is going because you’re repeating a sequence. When you start thinking ahead rather than listening to your teacher, not only are you blocking your ability to be truly open to what you’re being taught, you’re also failing to be in the moment - another vitally important aspect of the practice of Yoga.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.