When I decided to start writing this blog, I wanted Igor to somehow be a part of it, besides just being a colorful character in my stories. We talked about different ways we could include him and decided that Saturdays will be the day that we do something together. What that something is, will vary slightly every week but a nice recurrent theme will be these Dhammalogues. Little conversations about life and yoga.
Igor: Hi Jenny.

Jenny: Hi dear.

I: You started a blog this week. What will be the content of the blog and why did you decide to start writing it?

J: As I mentioned in the prologue, one of the reasons to start it came from a feeling of needing to open the lid a bit and air out some of my many thoughts, another reason is because I have since childhood hosted such a love for the written word. I hope to write a book myself one day. This is besides a lovely thing to do, great moral and practical training. The content of it will vary, I suppose. Haven't really planned it out. For now, I just want to share a bit of my life past and present, a bit of teaching openess by opening I guess.

I: You mentioned in your first entry that it took you years to accept the fact that you are a yogi. What does it mean for you to be a yogi and why do you think you were hesitant to see yourself as one?

J: Oh, that's a big question, let me see. What it means to be a Yogi for me has evolved and the answer to that question is very different today than a few years ago. In the beginning, right after losing my yoga virginity, I thought it meant having the discipline to dedicate your life to yogic endeavours. Like diet, abstinence, a sense of austerity, rigorous asana practice, doing good, finding a guru...Now I would consider a yogi being someone who loves it so much that s/he naturally dedicates their life to yogic endevours. Not necessarily only or even at all being any of the above mentioned.
It's someone who ponders on and seeks to give meaning to the big words, Freedom, Love, Truth. One who commits to be willing to go all the way down the rabbit hole even when it's inconvenient as hell. Someone looking for resolution of the opposites through intelligence and compassion and a keen sense of humour. One who understands that only good alone is incomplete.

The former model of Yogi was an uncomfortable fit. It felt like slipping on another skin, and I was uncomfortable enough in my own. As yoga started to claim a big portion of my everyday life and got pushed and shoved around by my irreverent personality, I found it conflictive and had doubts if it was really 'me'. Then my heart cracked a bit more open, life got a bit more challenging and the practice and it's results started to leak out from the mat. I started to understand the richness and complexity of yoga. And since complexity and I have walked hand in hand for many years, I could finally relate. Now I know I can change jobs, countries and life premise many times, but a Yogi, I am.

I: I like the idea of approaching yoga practice from the love of it rather than from duty or dicipline, but as you say, the truth that the very clear yoga mirror gives back is not as polished as we might like, it can be rather inconvenient, and some of its beneficial impact in our lives can take quite some time to cristalize. How does one develope a love relationship with yoga when the gain is neither absolute nor immediate, don't you ever feel like giving it up?

J: Well, there are 2 ways that I have seen gets people 'hooked' on yoga. Some come to it from a place of dreaming of a better. A better body, better health a better lifestyle. Others come to it from a place of despair and hopelessness, from the kind of 'no way out' scenario that makes them suffer. The former generally has to practice for a few years before they uncover what the people that practice from pain discover quite early, that they are to some extent suffering, and the reason that the carrot of better holds them there, is because they maybe don't like themselves or certain aspect of themselves so much. The sufferers, in most cases, have already reached that conclusion, perhaps with a little help from life's pushing and shoving.

Amongst the dreamers, some stay with it by having a great teacher or a great experience of the practice but many try for a few years and when the practice is not yielding that immediate result, they find something else which may suit their personality or time in life better. The same might be true for the sufferers, but yoga has a more immediate effect on them, simply because their difficulties are so present that just those few moments of relief that a calm mind and breath can give is like an oasis in the desert, so they usually fall in love with it. When you have practiced for a while and awareness becomes a more constant in daily life, and examining reality and the relationship of cause and effects becomes 'what you do', then there is really no way back. Then yoga starts to live in you and even though that love for it may not be felt all the time, the software is installed and much like any other commitment, the relationship is established, in sickness and in health...

I have gone through some real struggles with yoga. Have wanted to escape it's sharp eyes many times. When we lived in India, and practicing yoga was all we did, do you remember how many times I packed my bags to find the quickest escape route out of there?. And how much I cried. But after every escape attempt I came back and unpacked again realising there was nowhere to go, I had run out of places to hide. So I stuck with it, stayed in the midst of anger, resentment and selfloathing because I ultimately understood that there really was no way out, and what I was doing, although very painful at times, was the only intelligent thing there was for me to do.

I: Hmm, this gives us lots to talk about, 'Running out of hiding places' sounds like a good theme headline for next weekend. But for now, do you fancy a hot cup of coffe? We just got a fresh batch of Marabou chocolate from your parents to go with it!

J: Hot coffe och Mjölk Choklad, fika time! (if you don't know what fika is, you are missing out, go make a Swedish friend!)


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