Yoga certainly can be a physically taxing discipline. Taking a quick browse through some of the pictures here on my site will prove that to be true. Even greater personal challenge though, can arise from what’s revealed underneath the physical practice. If I had to summarize what I’ve learned so far in my few years of practice, I’d say yoga is an exercise directed at discovering the authentic self. Within the movement we’re taught to cultivate stillness. This is done by focusing on the breath, the lines of energy as they radiate through our body and how flowing through the poses feels to our bodies. This may sound simple but it definitely is not. For a lot of people, residing in stillness and learning how to just be with oneself can be difficult. I’m sure there are many people who go their entire lives without ever making an attempt at connecting with themselves on a deep, intuitive level. In my case it came out of necessity, long before my feet ever hit the yoga mat.
Years ago due to a series of bad choices I’d made up to that point in my life, I found myself at a pretty dark crossroads without much hope that things were going to get any better. I did have options, but my limited, closed-minded self just couldn’t see what they were at the time. For all my best effort, I couldn’t sort out the situation no matter how I viewed it. As things continued to get worse, a funny thing happened. As almost a last resort, I started listening to a calm and confident inner voice that was urging me towards an alternative course of action. This voice had tried to catch my attention before, but I’d largely ignored it. Something was different this time. Basically, the misery of staying the same had become greater than the fear of change and miraculously a window of positive opportunity presented itself. The decision to follow the advice I was hearing suddenly brought me to a place of tranquility I’d not experienced in a long time. Suddenly I had some hope and along with it, something different I was willing to try. Looking back on how all that unfolded, I have no idea where that new suggestion came from. No friend, family member or anyone else had planted a seed of thought towards it. Over the years, I’ve come to terms with what happened to me in those few days. I count it as a very personal and profound experience. It was a definite turning point in how I’ve come to see the world and my place in it.
This is just one of many reasons yoga has become such an important part of my life - especially since I’ve begun to dig deeper into its applications as a mechanism to guide my behavior, not just on the mat but off it as well. In the rhythmic stillness of the breath, meditation and pause between poses, that voice I first gave in to years ago has become clearer and more recognizable through my practice. I’ve come to realize it’s always accessible if I just take a moment’s break to tune in. Long ago, it helped to steer me out of a desperate spot. Now I’m more likely to heed its advice for healthy decision making; to better align my actions with what I’ve been put on this earth to accomplish and to receive clarity on what that might be. On that track, I’ve recently felt some type of transition phase approaching. Going through major changes can always be fearful, but with this inner compass leading the way and getting stronger through my practice, I’m confident that whatever happens, I’ll be okay. I’m assured of that each time I step onto my mat. Om shanti.