The yoga journey is fundamentally rewarding even when extraordinarily challenging. So much of what takes place on the mat or in the meditation practice translates to our lives outside of the practice. It is truly no wonder that people have been utilizing it for thousands of years. I myself have only been on the train for nine years and have seen the power of transformation steeped in the cauldron of the yoga practice sweep through every aspect of my life. The more I practice the subtler yet more inspiring the challenges get.
In the beginning is a valuable and profound unfolding of the physical body, a revelation of joy in the fulfillment of strength and flexibility gained through attaining new heights in the asana. Over the journey the challenge crosses over into relationships with others and with behaviors that for the first time get attention and fall away from being habitual and done mindlessly, inviting a knowing of Shraddha (belief structures our lives operate on that are empowered while unconscious), and ultimately its transfiguration. Then like a good flow class the practice aligns with life to throw one into the deep well of pain, challenge, transformation, and in the end transmutation. The Tapas, the burning away of the desire to be comfortable in the known, morphs into an all-consuming desire to align with something greater than self, which arises when we sweat on the mat and as life falls apart. In the renunciation and reconciliation life gets put back together again. In the wake and the puddles of sweat or tears there is quiet like the stillness before the gestation of a seed and its great journey into mature life.
This has been my journey and I know I am not alone as I see similarities in my story with those of others. This is life, it’s not always easy, it’s not always pain free, and it’s not always about the next big pose. This is where the real yoga starts to show up and we are asked of ourselves to be present for the journey rather that the results of our labors. When we allow ourselves to be present for the journey then no matter the result we gain. This is the gift of our lives not only our yoga practices, when we realize that sometimes the only way out is through. Even if that journey is just getting through a book a friend recommended that you do not enjoy, you will probably find in the end something of value was waiting for you to just unveil it. Not unlike precious gems hiding in the deep belly of the Earth, we often find our most valuable meanings in life in the deep darkness of the underbelly of our being.
“When you are in conflict or doubt, or are afraid, when you lose hope or lose people that you depend upon, move beyond the pain and fear; there is an awareness there. An awareness that has always been there. In your loneliness and suffering and darkness and fear, silently, behind it, the awareness is waiting for us to return. This awareness is the field of consciousness from which all life came, the absolute energy that precedes all and is beyond all and is within all. It is within you.
We all have this in common, but we have been convinced that we are alone. This energy, though, that compels one cell to become two, that heals wounds, that spins quarks and planets, is within us all. And all language can do is rest on top of it, or point to it, never really describing it. This force, this undeniable compulsion to come together-we know that it’s there and we all know when it’s absent and we all know that we must be open to it now. And in spite of its ethereal and indefinable nature, we all know that it’s love.” –Russel Brand
It is there in the midst of it all when we become quiet that we find ourselves in the presence of the consciousness that pervades the universe. This consciousness is always present and always available to us to experience. In its company we feel the tenderness of embrace as well as the brightness of inspired transformation. In the presence of its company we withstand the travails of all challenge. In presence we see the beauty and experience the rewards all along the path of our journeys.
Happy spring, may you fee blessed by the challenges that call you to the doorstep of your transformation.
With Love, Always, In All Ways, For Giving,