I am a seeker.
Why are we here? What is this life for? Where do we come from? Where do we return to? How can we live fully and deeply? How can I make sense of this life journey? For almost 20 years Yoga has been this practice for me, and this is one of the many reasons I wanted to come to the birthplace of this practice: INDIA.
This practice is not fancy asana photos in faraway places. Its not wearing the newest yoga trend. It’s not something that takes place on Instagram. It’s not something that someone else has that we can get.
Yoga is considered ‘a practice’. Not ‘a perfect’. Yoga is the practice of union. To yoke. To bring together. To quiet and clarify long enough to feel the tipping points that pull us in either direction-I want this, I don’t want that. The many many longings and aversions that keep us from knowing equanimity, ease of being and ultimately oneness.
It’s about sitting at the feet of our teacher and really listening to: the teachings of life, our guru, our own inner voice of wisdom (which is never wrong....if we are really truly listening), our parents, our spouse or partner, our children, our mistakes, our rights, our wrongs, the planet.
It’s about meta: kindness and compassion ...and that really starts with ourselves. How can we be truly kind? To our body, our mind and our heart...to the world around us and everyone and everything in it?
It’s about trust. Trusting ourselves. The great wisdom that we all possess. Which goes hand in hand with courage. Trusting what we know what we need, and then having the courage to give ourselves exactly that.
It’s about not taking more than is being given. Of our body and soul, of another being, of the earth.
It’s about knowing why we are doing what we are doing. Pausing and feeling why our heart beats? What animates our soul? What are we dedicating our life to and for?
It’s about lessening our grip and hold on things, possessions, belongings so that we can feel the lightness that we are without all the stuff weighing us down.
This practice suggests that we keep ourselves as clean, clear and as pure as possible. What we do and do not put into our system through all of our sensory: what we see/watch, what we hear/listen, what we taste/eat/drink, what we touch/hold, what we smell. To watch what can accumulate and build up around our unchanging center and keep it as clean and digested and clear as possible.
It also suggest that we practice gratitude. To get really clear about what we have takes practice, b/c the endless stream of what we don’t have is pressed in upon us everywhere in ads, social media and business messaging all the time. That we have a breath at all. That our heart is beating. Our kidneys functioning. That we have something steady and stable to stand on and walk forth. That we have dishes to wash and laundry to fold. That we have children who need us. Families to tend to.
It tells us to keep the heat on. It’s easy to coast. Even to go numb. Basically to feel nothing at all through the busyness of our lives. Or, the over or under-doing in our lives. To turn on the heat is to wash clean what doesn’t belong in our most essential state of being. To keep showing up again and again and again. The stand and feel the heat and discomfort of not knowing, embarrassment, loss and pain is cleaning the dirty dishes of our being.
To study ourselves. Like a Russian doll, as we look more and more closely there are many layers over top of a clear unchanging center being. How can we know and even begin to strip away these layers to live more from our clearest inner light.
To know, not to read about, or hear from someone else’s experience, but from our own .... that we are far more expansive, unchanging and nameless than we thought.
To use the practices of controlled breathing (pranayama), physical postures (asana), withdrawal of our senses (pratyahara), meditation (dharana and dhyana) to find our most deeply alive, present and absorbed state of being and living (samadhi).