Sunday, July 17, 2011
Flood the Soul
The Experience and Practice of Yoga
The experience of yoga and the practice of yoga are different things and both are different for each person. When I feel the experience of yoga, I feel like everything is perfect, like the world is just the way that it needs to be and I am a privileged be a guest here. When I feel yoga, I feel boundless, like my body is able, lithe, and strong. I feel like my heart is huge and sturdy enough to hold any pain. When I experience yoga I am aware and intuitive. I am still. Sometimes the experience of yoga is subtle and fleeting, just happy and aware. Mostly, when I feel yoga, I feel like I've sourced something inside that I knew was there all along: a wellspring of creativity, love and understanding and a contentedness to just be.
The experience of yoga is about transformation, the transformation of recognizing our True Selves. It's not that our current self isn't real or true, it's that yoga helps us see the big and deep part of ourselves that doesn't change. It's about coming home and seeing ourselves in our true identity.
The practice of yoga is about making the conditions right in body, mind and spirit, for the experience of yoga to happen. In our asana practice, we become stronger, more flexible, and balanced. We ease tension from muscles and set our nervous system at ease. We focus our minds and learn presence. All these qualifiers are vital for the experience of yoga to happen but don't replace the experience of yoga. In other words, there is a difference between the practice of yoga and the experience of yoga.
When I feel the experience of yoga, I feel like everything is in balance. My body feels great, my mind feels at ease, and I feel like myself. I feel timeless. In these moment’s, it’s easy to see how the word yoga means to yoke or unite. When I experience yoga I feel like everything makes. You may feel a little differently when you experience yoga.
We may not feel the experience of yoga each time we practice. Some of us may have never felt or maybe just haven't recognized the experience of yoga. That doesn't mean that we are doing anything wrong or should stop practicing. The more we practice, the easier we discover how to most effectively travel our own pathway to transformation until one day the path becomes well-worn. Simone Weil said, " Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul." She's saying to keep practicing and one day it will all pay off. Often when we are least expecting it, going about our practice like any other day, we'll find ourselves in a posture or something and suddenly everything opens up to the experience of yoga, or some sudden insight about ourselves will come flooding in. Sometimes it’s not so grand, but rather subtle and sweet, a simple feeling of contentment. Either way the more we practice, the more frequent these moments come.
I'm excited to be on this journey with you all. Every day I experience the value of this practice. I feel honored to be able to help direct you down your own path of transformation. I am a practitioner first and foremost and a teacher second and I am humbled by the privilege to walk this path next to you. I hope that through yoga you can all taste of that rich experience of yoga, transformation, and experiencing your True Self.
I'll see you in class!