Archives for category: Spiritual Growth through Yoga

IMG_0401As we step onto our yoga mats we may be seeking the perfect body or the perfect world.  Then we discover that yoga is about being at peace with our imperfect bodies and our imperfect world.  Several years ago at a training in Hood River, Or., surrounded by beautiful, capable, and gifted yogis as I had been for years, our master trainer, Stephanie, guided the class into a triangle pose.  Coming to my side and after making a small adjustment she quietly said the word “perfect”.  That one word touched the perfect place within me and I was forever changed.  We can call that place Goddess, God, Spirit, Goodness, Love, Light, or whatever we choose.  It’s within us all and always will be.  So today I say to you- “The Light (the Perfect) within me  bows to the Light (the Perfect) within in you.  Namaste”

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Looking beyond what the world has to offer we find the ultimate peace.

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The Yoga Sutras remind me that it is our senses that attach us to the world, especially the eyes and ears.  What do I see around me each day?  Is there a thing of beauty on which my eyes can rest?  What do I hear?  Is it pleasant and do these sounds take me to a place of serenity?  Each day I make choices that bring health to my body; fresh fruit and vegetables, food without processing.  So also I can feed my mind with healthy sights and sounds, even embracing the silence.

IMG_1547      “If you are patient, your mind is settled, then what you do will be more perfect.  If you are unsettled and anxious to get the result, you are already disturbed.  Nothing done with a disturbed mind will have quality.”  Sri Swami Satchidananda from The Yoga sutras of Patanjali

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Yoga invites us to explore the conditions of our mind as well as our body.  Some days I wake feeling awesome and ready to take on the world.  Other days my body is in such a condition that I need to take it easy, rest and relax, and enjoy a gentle practice.  Sturas 1:6-11 invite us to look into the condition of our minds.  Am I mentally coming from a place of peace, or is my mind distracted by implied fears, old memories, or gossip?  Being aware of the different conditions of the mind beings me to a state of awareness and I empower myself to change the negative thought patterns and bring my mind into a state of peace.  Peace does not come from the mind.  Peace comes from the stillness found between the thoughts- good or bad.  Today when I find myself anxious or in despair I will take a moment and rest in that place of peace.  In yoga we learn to love the stillness.   

My reoccurring dream- I am in a big city, walking and enjoying the sights, then ending up lost and confused I am unable to find my way back to where I started.  Such is my life.  Trying something new, enjoying the learning process, at timers finding myself over my head, and searching for my way back to peace and serenity and the comfort of an old routine.  So where do I go for guidance to find my way back home?  The Sutras speak of  right knowledge and suggest that the  knowledge can be found in scriptures, ancient texts and writings.  I am not alone in figuring out life and where I am at today.  For me, the essence of all that has been written is Love.  So being reminded and guided by those who have gone before, I come back to the belief that all is well, it’s just a dream, and that Love is going to see me through whatever challenge is presented to me.  I will learn, I will grow, and I will be better able to help those who are also feeling lost.

Studying the Sutras this morning I am reminded that, for me, knowledge is gained from experience.  I’ve learned a lot from books and continue to do so and I also follow my instincts which tell me when I am moving in the right direction, but my true knowledge, for me,  is gained by doing something.    Pretty much all my life I have put myself down because I have never been able to decide on one thing and stick to it.  I am always trying new things, walking through fears, discovering what is good for me and what is not.  And through it all I have learned.  This is what I share with my yoga friends.  Stepping onto our mats we are invited to learn and explore with our bodies and our breath.  Then we are invited to take it out into the world, expanding our knowledge of ourselves and of the world.  It’s a gift; a blessing, and I hope that I never lose the opportunities to learn and grow. When I was young I thought that by the time I had reached my age I would have had it all figured out.  Life would be a dream, but I have never been the age I am now in this lifetime, so I am continuing to learn and grow, knowing that what I learn and the progress I make toward peace and serenity is never lost.  It’s my gift to the Universe, the only thing that I have to give, the only thing I have to share.

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Again I sit to write and study the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali  by Sri Swami Satchidananda.  Today I am reminded of the purpose of yoga.  It’s so much more that the physical postures.  Yoga invites us to find a way to quiet the mind and live in peace using the body and the breath as tools to achieve those goals.  Each time I sit to read and study I am given the opportunity to learn to incorporate practices into my daily life that will bring me peace.  Today what I am finding in 1:3 is that it is important to be acting from my heart, not influenced by ego or driven by my senses, I can live without expectations, and with compassion, kindness, generosity of Spirit, joy and peace of mind.  This is yoga.  This is the reason that each morning I awake to read, write, to move and breathe, to let go and embrace whatever the Universe brings me today.

The enlightened world will rise from the enlightened mind.  Our environment is a reflection of our attitudes and beliefs and as we as individuals grow in peace so shall we create a new reality.  Image

I awoke today being reminded that I can only prepare for spiritual growth; I cannot control it.  If I come to the place where I can accept that I am powerless over other people, places and things, then I can accept that I am powerless over myself.  And this is a comfortable place for me to be today.  Knowing that Something/Someone is in charge of my life as well as others, I can move forward into the day and just do/be whatever comes.  Everything that comes into my life is an opportunity for me to learn, grow, and deepen my faith in a Power Greater that Myself.  And I believe that a Power is there to guide me into a place of Joy and Love.  Svadhisthana/ our second cakra, when activated, physically invites us into this place of joy.  Today, just for today, I will prepare for spiritual growth.  I will meditate, pray, write, read spiritual books, and fill my body and my brain with what is good for me.  I’ll step onto my mat, letting go of ego and embracing all that I am today and all that I can do with gratitude and love.