Wednesday, February 10, 2010

open mike for my heart

I want to write about yoga, or more specifically, my yoga....

I want to write the most accurate words that capture what this particular modality of "exercise" does for me.

So I search within my heart, and I scramble through my brain, and I seek out other blog neighbors that write about it, and I even ('cause I roll this way), look up the definition...

yoga: [yoh-guh]
–noun 1. a school of Hindu philosophy advocating and prescribing a course of physical and mental disciplines for attaining liberation from the material world and union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.
2. any of the methods or disciplines prescribed, esp. a series of postures and breathing exercises practiced to achieve control of the body and mind, tranquillity, etc.
3. union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.

...and none of these are what MY practice is quite about.

Ten years ago, when I bing-practised yoga, it was for how it would make my body look (sleek and slightly muscular), it was a passive way for me to "get healthy", and it was the thing to do living in downtown Toronto. Six months ago, when I started up again, my reasons had changed. I came to my mat to get away from the stressors in my life, to disconnect from the world and my place in it, to escape into something that was just solely mine. It was a safe, quiet place that could help me become invisible for a short time until I had to face the world again an hour later.

And while I felt relaxed in a quiet place within myself during the sessions, stepping back into my reality quiet often scared the crap outta me, and I found myself back in the same anxious mental state I was before my practise.

During the first couple of months of my practise, I emoted quite a bit on my mat. My towel soaked up more than my sweat, and often, child's pose lent me the privacy I needed to let all the pain release through my tears. Apparently this's not uncommon to feel a cracking of our hearts as they are gently opened with the postures and held tenderly to allow for release of trauma.

Today, my practise is the blending of both of my beliefs of what yoga has shown me. I know that the physical benefits will happen as I practise, but I don't actively focus on this aspect anymore. And I know that my practise helps me to react more positively to my outside stressors, but I don't use it to hide anymore, and I don't go to my mat dreading the moment I have to get off, because...well, I'm beginning to live my practise off my mat. I'm becoming more quiet within myself, and that means more quiet outwardly too. I don't freak out as much as I used to during any chaos of my day. I'm better able to explain my anger, or frustration instead of venting it to my loved ones, and...this is huge...I've become more compassionate and empathetic. During my insomniac moments (which translates into quiet moments), I find I have insights into what others might be feeling or experiencing. I can put myself into another's shoes and feel life through their heart. These "Aha!" moments are unique and magnificent, and as a healer, this insight adds depth to my ability to help people heal themselves.

I don't see any of this defined through, and I don't remember being told ten years ago that this is what yoga can do. But now I get it, I realize that yoga is unique for everyone. We may share similar reasons why we are hooked (because most yogis are hands-down hooked), but we all have different reasons why we stay.

I've just joined my stuido's 30 Day Challenge, and I'm excited to see what will continue to be revealed to me from my heart during the next few weeks of living yoga on and off my mat. It's my heart that leading me this time...and she apparently has profound things to say...


Anonymous said...

This is so awesome! I've heard that about yoga (and reiki). It sometimes opens certain blocked chakras and the floodgates are also opened. Let it be what it will be.
I find this very interesting because I too am attempting to get back into a morning practice at home and have been feeling a LOT of anxiety just prior to and during the first 10 minutes or so...glad to know I'm not crazy....or hey, maybe we both are!
Great post!

Sorrow said...

How i miss Yoga...
just reading this made me ache ..
with longing. I tried Yoga local once, OMG
if you want a really scary story, email me and ask me about my one and only experience with Yoga where i live...
I am so happy for you, so glad to read that you have this, and are experiencing all this...

Megan Potter said...

What a beautiful and moving post. It totally makes me want to go upstairs and pull out my (much neglected) mat!

Also, I totally roll that way too! I love word definitions so much I have both a dictionary AND an Etymology dictionary book marked!


p.s. I just put up a survey (see link in my name) and I could really use some input and opinions if you don't mind swinging by I'd really appreciate it!