Going Inward is Reaching Outward

I have felt a shift in my Yoga practice of late, something opening and expanding. It is often the way when we practice something over years that we witness these sudden unfoldings and a whole new perspective emerges, deepening our understanding and experience. It’s like discovering a secret room in your house that you didn’t know existed; it’s exciting and mysterious; it also leaves you wondering how you never knew of its presence until now. The process is an unfolding; a peeling back of veils, each layer pulled aside when we are good and ready.

I have been feeling very aware of – and grateful for – my body. Daily practice of the asanas over the last eight years has built my strength and improved my flexibility; those areas that had started to become a little rigid have softened, making movement through life that much easier, my stamina improved. We can take our bodies for granted. Unrolling my Yoga mat is a way for me to honour and enjoy just what it is that my body continues to give to me. It has also illustrated that my body truly appreciates movement, thriving on it. It is amazing to think that certain poses that were once incredibly challenging to me are now a joy to execute. With time, patience and gentleness the body opens up. My practice has also taught me that there are moments when movement is not appropriate; that there are times when stillness is the order of the day. Yoga helps me to listen to myself a whole lot better, to know what is needed a little more clearly, although I admit there is still room for improvement here too.

I think that most people start Yoga with their main focus on the physical postures. Like many, I have found that these inevitably lead one to want to explore more deeply pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation. Building a more intimate and aware relationship with my body is enabling me to access my emotional, metal and spiritual selves from a more grounded place. Recently, I have been finding myself looking forward to practising pranayama as much as the asanas. Like our bodies, oxygen is also taken for granted. During pranayama and the breathing used for the postures, I am increasingly aware of how life-giving and nourishing it is. The link between breathe and our state of mind/emotion is a powerful one; when we begin to engage consciously with our breathing, we discover just how wonderful a gift it is to our spiritual development and physical well-being.

A couple of days ago, at the end of my morning session, I was sat practicing the Hamsah (‘I Am That’) Mantra on my mat. I love it because it is simple yet powerful and its rhythm and sounds strike me as intimately linked to the rhythm and sound of our breathing. The sun poured in through the window, covering me with light and warmth. As I became aware of my breathe rising up my spine on the inhalation, inwardly hearing ‘Ham’ riding on its expansion, then following it with the physically whispered exhalation of ‘Sah’- its sighing sound like the deepest release and surrender – I realised that the light was changing and flowing rhythmically too. The clouds passing over the sun meant that, at moments, the vision of my closed eyes was flooded with a deep red. As clouds obscured the sun, this red turned to a dark brown and then shortly back again to red, and so on. The breathing in and out of ‘Hamsah’ and the moving in and out of light and darkness, merged to produce an extraordinary feeling in me of being an absolute part of everything – inhalation, exhalation, life, death, light, dark – each contained within the breathe of the Divine and the song of the world the most magical Mantra of all. ‘I Am That’ suggests this very notion – the sense of separation of our true selves from the Divine, an illusion. We are always at one with that infinite and indefinable source, despite the fact that our ‘little selves’ can so often tell us otherwise. The beauty of any spiritual practice is that it can help us to re-engage with that sense of belonging. We might not find it easy to stay ‘plugged in’ for long but it makes a massive difference to get those occasional glimpses. Finding a practice that we feel comfortable with and that encourages this ‘plugging in’ can make such a difference to our lives. Sticking with it can bring huge benefits (and challenges too!) and we might just find that we touch that magical state of connection more and more often.

For me, it’s a wonderful notion that the Divine stretches with me and flows through me on my Yoga mat; it breathes with me and through me too, its song resonating like a powerful and transformative chant through every cell in my body and being. As I stretch and release tension, I feel as if I am creating a space inside me for it – another unknown room in the house of ‘me’ just waiting to be discovered.

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. trish said,

    November 22, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    this is absolutely beautiful.

    Lots of love Trish xx

  2. luckyloom1 said,

    November 22, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks Trish! XXXXXX


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: