“We were born before the wind …” ~ Van Morrison, Into the Mystic
It’s taken me a long time to figure out what yoga’s all about, and I still don’t think I am totally there yet.
Really, at the beginning, I just dipped in for some exercise.
I had no way of knowing that it would connect me, especially since I didn’t even know I was disconnected.
Some people refer to yoga as a moving meditation, and I sort of discovered this without even realizing it was happening. I would just reach the end of the practice with some new kind of energy.
All the while, I was not aware that I even stored any kind of energy, much less that the practice could shift it.
Sometimes an instructor takes us from the bottoms of our seats to the tops of our heads, talking about energy, talking about breathing into energy centers, talking about inhaling and exhaling and downloading positive energy.
In the past, I would just follow along, supposedly using my breath to move some energy through my body and not giving it too much deep thought.
But that was then and this is now.
Now I am awake; before, I think I was sort of asleep.
Somehow, moving on my mat has been like an alarm clock, jolting me from one state of consciousness to another.
This might sound like I’ve dipped in for some Kool-aid along with the yoga, but practicing has introduced me to more of who I am, to my own energy and to that of others, as well.
Before, my perspective was more of I am here, you are there and sometimes we are here together.
Now I see that none of us is separate, even if we wish to be, because we are all made up of the same energy, the different levels of which impact our days, our moods and ultimately, one another.
I am never over here while you are over there. We are always in the same place.
How else to explain the instant connections we feel with certain people, the automatic aversions we might feel toward others, the light lift of our spirits when we see or think of someone we love?
It’s the ebb and flow of energy that marks our experiences. Sometimes, I can’t put my finger on why it’s a good day or a bad day, or why there might be a shift in my feelings or in that of another’s.
This is energy at play, and it’s more telling than any words I myself or someone else might say.
Meditation is supposed to help us tap into our energy, and the moving meditation of yoga seems to do this for me. The practice creates a shift inside, and I move from a singular space to one that’s more intertwined with those around me.
I am still a beginner at meditation, and I’ve even attended a few workshops with a rabbi who has created a mindfulness center. He has identified a tie to yoga, meditation and the ancient teachings of Judaism as a way to ignite his energy, and he is teaching others how to do the same.
Most recently, we sat in a circle, and the rabbi talked a lot about the breath, a big deal in yoga and in mediation. He said it’s what ties us to God, or to what he calls the Source.
The Energy Source. The Light.
I was surprised to have stumbled upon this same idea by way of yoga. After the workshop, I mentioned an article I had written about a recent realization that the breath ties us to some kind of greatness inside, so we are never really alone, especially if we just breathe.
You know, this rabbi told me. The Torah is inside you.
Then, he just looked at me as if to say, Right?
And it was like he had blessed me with those words and the look that followed. I felt heartened because he validated a budding knowledge brought on by yoga, a knowledge that I am connected on the inside as well as the outside.
What he was telling me was that the Torah—or the truth, or the Source, or the Light—was one and the same as the energy that was me, and the energy that is all of us.
It seems that yoga has brought me back to myself. I think I might have been missing for a while.
But if what this rabbi says is true, and I think it is, then I was never really gone.
My energy was just taking a rest, and yoga woke it up.
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta