“The human soul does not merely hunger for beauty, we feel most alive in the presence of what is beautiful—it returns us, often in fleeting but sustaining moments, to our highest selves. Beauty ennobles the heart and reminds us of the infinity within us.”
This thought is one I have recently discovered and shared with my students, and each time I read it I am reminded of the blessed and beautiful life I live, both on and off the mat.
It was almost a year ago that I started my training as a yoga teacher, an experience that has changed my life for good in so many ways throughout training and every day after. I consider myself profoundly blessed to spend so much of my time with strong and inspiring people in a practice I have come to love so dearly.
We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too.
When I first began practicing more than four years ago, I assumed it was just a great workout. I bought a Biggest Loser Weight-loss yoga DVD and followed Bob’s instructions to get the burn that promised ‘long, lean muscles’. Oh what an evolution has taken place! Since those jaw-clenching moments holding chair pose in my living room, I have uncovered physical strength and stamina, yes, but I have also found a haven in the midst of life's bitter storms. I've met humble, loving, and dynamic people who took me into their hearts without question or requirement. I have shed tears as I lay in the safety of Savasana, and drawn courage from quiet meditation.
For me, yoga is a much more than a good stretch after Leg Day. It is permission to lay down the sometimes crushing load that is life for the space of an hour or so. It is safety and freedom and compassion for self. It is a space where the single-mindedness of breathing in and out is all that matters, and in return offers personal insight and peace.
So, what if, instead of thinking about solving your whole life, you just think about adding additional good things. One at a time. Just let your pile of good things grow.
Rainbow Rowell, Attachments
My guru often counseled myself and the rest of our class to trust the process of the practice, and, like so much in yoga, this wisdom extends to life off the mat as well.
At times the practice is difficult and frightening, and more often than not we are tempted to give up or skip an intimidating posture, but there is peace in every moment if we simply breath in and out. And once it is all finished, we will be amazed at the things we accomplish, body and soul—not by tackling every problem at once, but because we've stayed present through each movement, each moment, each breath.