Tradition & Nouveau in Prague
What are your traditions?
Why do you perform them?
Are they enhancing your life?
Are your traditions in line with your maturing values?
The people of Czech Republic have a long history of traditions.
What are traditions?
Tradition refers to beliefs, objects or customs performed or believed in the past, originating in it, transmitted through time by being taught by one generation to the next, and are performed or believed in the present.
A tradition may be deliberately created and circulated for personal, commercial, political, or national self-interest.
Tradition is usually contrasted with the goal of modernity.
When is the last time you were mindful of the effect of these traditions in your life?
This reminds me of the popular Czech quote, “Kdo hledá, najde,” translated to “He who looks, finds.”
Through Yoga, we focus on finding the good and positive in life: light, love, freedom, and peace.
Prague is a city filled with traditions especially surrounding the winter holidays. From scaring children into learning poetry on the eve of St. Nicholas Day, to giving gifts on Name Days to preparing feasts. Frighteningly, a commonly followed tradition on Christmas Eve involves everyone would rising from the table at exactly the same time as it was believed that the first person to leave the table would be the first person to die in the coming year, and everyone is required to eat all food on their plates. However, Prague's streets are lit by thousands of lights, the festive decorations are abundant and the carols that are heard everywhere lead many to believe that it is one of the most beautiful times of year.
Do you choose your own traditions? Do they align with your current values?
Co můžeš udělat dnes, neodkládej na zítřek.
Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today. This traditional Czech quotes relates directly to yoga and consciousness. We are reminded to live in the moment, now.
I’m not bashing traditions and nor saying that they are pointless, I’m simply asking you to notice it’s place in your present life today.
Prague is known for its historic architecture, having been the capital of the Holy Roman Empire during the 14th century and one of Europe’s important cities for centuries.
However, the range of architecture from the 20th century reflects an attitude of modernity and newness, going against tradition.
During my recent trip to Prague, I spent hours walking the streets and noticing the detailed beauty that surrounded me. I was captivated by the new art that contrasted to the medieval background. The Art Nouveau (New) style is characterized by long, flowing, curved shapes. These organic lines are often found in nature and flowers.
I also spent time being inspired and getting lost in the details of prints and paintings at the Mucha museum. Alphonse Mucha, was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, known best for his distinct style. He produced many paintings, illustrations, advertisements, postcards, and designs. Because Mucha was so influential, you can see his work in some of Prague’s finest buildings, including the stained glass window of St. Vitus Cathedral…
Mucha's works frequently featured beautiful young women in flowing, vaguely Neoclassical-looking robes, often surrounded by lush flowers.
He declared that art existed only to communicate a spiritual message, and nothing more.
In yoga, the pedal (or limb) of Dharana means Concentration, the mind thinks about one object and avoids other thoughts.
It’s a limb that can get overlooked as either unimportant or too difficult to bother with, especially since its fuller translation is “the binding of the mind to one place, object or idea.” It’s the act of bringing your monkey mind back to whatever it is you’re focusing on, now. The goal is in the practice. It’s the act of redirecting the mind, again and again.
There’s just something deeply gratifying about focusing intensely on something – like getting lost in a book or abandoning yourself to the beauty of the ocean waves. We often feel like we're scattered in day to day life. When you get familiar with dharana, the mind becomes a much less restless place to be.
With the winter holidays and New Year approaching, do you ever take the time to reflect or concentrate on one object, idea, or sound?
Maybe you stop to stare at the star above a Christmas tree, or the flicker of a candle. Maybe it's the mystery wrapped up in a present, or the hum of a carol.
There is power in being still, staying focused and even re-examining your intentions for each choice in every moment.
As we move into the new year, how can you notice the world with a new perspective? Will you take the time to concentrate and focus your mind?
How can you live in the present moment today, noticing and developing with your experiences?
12/18/2015 12:19:10 pm
I like this idea of mindfully choosing the traditions we participate in rather than blindly doing things by default without thought and choice. I love some of the holiday traditions I've decided to partake in, such as putting up Christmas decorations and hosting Christmas Eve dinner.
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