The Healing Walk trail at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California is strewn with markers of meditative reminders on the way. I enjoy walking here silently in prayer and intention. “You are here awake and alive.” We have that available preciously in each moment. I feel a sense of spaciousness after walking this trail, within me and around me along with being connected to everything and everyone.
There is subtle calibration of life processes that keep us going at our optimal, or become out of balance. It may show up in our ability to stay calm or feel overwhelmed in turmoil.
How do we access that calibration? How do we access the unmoving stability, strength, focus, ease of our being when surrounded by chaos, confusion or challenging life experiences that seem to be real and unreal at the same time?
The capacity to bridge & reach the unmoving stillness within, from all the unrelenting movements around and the mixing up of what is normal and the new normal – how do we explore the edges of this capacity?
One way for me is through a breath-oriented yoga practice in which the breath is invited to stay long and smooth no matter what posture, and move only in co-ordination with that breath. It is a distinctly different effort for the body and mind. It helps us explore our individual patterns of how we add stress to our being and bring more awareness, consciousness, calibration for optimal functioning. The result is a sense of calmness and clarity. The more consistently I practice, sooner I am able to get back to balance, each time I lose it.
The strength cultivated through consistent practice of yoga is a subtle inner power. Through my years of practice and teaching yoga to facilitate healing and transformation, I find myself contemplating time and again – what does Yoga mean to me?
Yoga is about:
- cultivating positive energy and joy for our daily life.
- dropping the effort and developing the skill and focus for everyday ease.
- building our ability to sustain our productivity and functions for the long term.
- finding the capacity to face life difficulties with resilience and endurance.
- feeling a sense of balance in our emotions and our relations.
The postures and movements may or may not be physically challenging for you. The effort is in the attention to cultivate a long smooth breath, that gives us the ability to be balanced in our body and mind. It helps cleanse the effects of stress and pain, physical and emotional.
The challenge is in maintaining focus of attention where it is required, often true even in our daily life. Yoga trains our mind for that focus, and to meet challenges with skill.
Find Your Joy
Yoga helps you get clear in your mind. It can be designed to help you be attentive and listen to your intuition. Build skills to discern what your truth is and where your joy is. You know something about yourself or your life better than before as a result of your own attention.
Do I continue in this relationship, or walk out? How do I find joy in my continuing relationship? Am I content with my current health status and how my doctor is addressing it? Do I quit my job, or continue? Do my food habits truly nourish me? Does parenting really have to be this difficult? How supported do I feel through these life changes and choices? What do I really want? I am worried, I have depression, anxiety, insomnia …
A good yoga practitioner and teacher can facilitate these, very human experiences, to help you find your own answers.