Yoga Mantra of the Day: Contribution, Growth, Surrender


A yoga bonus, Paul Teodo adds his guitar stylings to savasana.

During a beautiful vinyasa practice at Power Yoga East, a donation-based studio with floors that seem to vibrate with the light tapping of Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire (who used to practice in the airy, second-story space), I set my intention: “I can give more.” I have to admit, it was a cop out, a way not to choose which family member was more deserving of my dedication: one who is quitting chewing tobacco or one who is home on bed rest. Yet the mantra proved to be an encouraging one, allowing me to reflect on the ways I can give, to myself, to my work, to my life, to those I love, and to those I encounter, regularly or not.

Led by Paul Teodo, I found it easy to vibrate into the void, to settle into my breaths and the empty spaces between. When Teodo concluded the class with recollection from his recent meditation workshop, in which he was encouraged to balance contribution, growth, and surrender, it became clear that we were vibrating on the same frequency.

My mantra of “I can give more,” falls into the contribution category. Beyond giving to particular people, it begs the questions: How can I contribute to society? What is unique and good about me that I can share to manifest a better world? Which then leads to growth. What do I need to improve? How can I be stronger, do better? And finally to surrender. When is it necessary to “do less,” to succumb to the flow of the universe, one much grater than an individual or even the whole of human existence? In today’s hyper-connected society, this surrender, this silence can be a challenge, as can the other components, but as in an asana practice, seeking balance is the ultimate journey, and we should take joy, find bliss in the moments of action, of experience, surrendering, growing, contributing.

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