Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Making my Niyama Case for Virgosity

English: Illustration of shallow focus, showin...
Don't  move my salt shaker. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Don't bother googling "virgosity." It's a word my husband made up to describe my extreme Virgo-ness. I don't know what it is about being born during late August or most of September, but everyone I know who was born under the astrological sign of Virgo has the same catch-phrase. It is "Don't move my stuff."

My husband coined the term "virgosity" to explain behaviors that to his Leo brain seem completely irrational, like sliding the salt shaker a half-inch to the right so it will be exactly where it belongs, or arranging candle holders so they will be in a perfect non-linear scatter. After I've had some alone time at the yoga studio, the classes arrive to find all the blankets folded identically and stacked with all the fringe facing the same way, a specific number in each stack.

Lucky for me and all my fellow Virgo yogis and yoginis, Patanjali justified our virgosity in the Yoga Sutras, right there in the list of Niyamas. Number one on the list is Shaucha, which is purity or cleanliness. Shaucha refers to both your external environment and, being yoga, what's going on in that mind of yours.

We know that a cluttered mind creates obstacles to the practice of yoga, whether it's asana, meditation, self-study or one of the other branches. What makes this Virgo heart sing is the acknowledgement that a cluttered or dirty environment also creates those obstacles. Maybe it's just me, but I have a hard time focusing on work when my desk hasn't been cleared off, as I learned the hard way when I allowed it to get out of control. I have never been satisfied with an asana practice surrounded by piles of laundry.

You can do lots of things to purify the body and clear the mind, but your breakthrough might be stalled under a stack of dirty dishes. The simplicity of life when everything is in its place can free up energy for the internal work.

And if you don't know the exact place for your salt shaker, it's time to make friends with a Virgo.
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