June 26, 2012

What Yoga Teaches. ~ Christine Quaglia


This piece, of all of the ones I have written recently about yoga, is the hardest one to write.

It is so difficult because what yoga teaches is not something that can be put into words (which kind of makes using words to, you know write words about something a bit challenging).

However, I will make an attempt and the best way I can think to begin is by saying that yoga instructs in the ineffable. It shares its lessons in feelings and in breaths. The space for what yoga teaches belongs in a kind of netherworld; in that fraction of a second between the inhalation and the exhalation.

It has been said that our real and truest selves live in that tiny space, the turnaround between breathing in and then breathing out. It is in that tiny millisecond where real knowing can happen and where we can get in touch, literally, with the grandness of who we are.

What yoga teaches is how to access that space on a more regular basis.

To open up that window to the soul and have it last just a tiny bit longer than that fraction of a second. And then, eventually and incrementally, that space of knowingness is the space where you reside. You don’t just hang out or pass through. Instead, you live there on a regular basis and every place else seems like a netherworld where you no longer quite fit.

Sure, you may stop over there for a layover every now and again. Have a little fit where you think that the frantic, delusional and fearful image before you is in fact the person you really are. But, that fear will pass and you will get back to that space of knowing because yoga has taught you how.

Just as it has taught me, it has taught you and countless others before and still to come.

It instructs on how to come back to now. Yoga teaches each of us to breathe and to bend; to walk taller and sit straighter and above all to just be in the moment. To be quiet within in ourselves and to stop moving and judging and pacing and thinking and be nothing except it.

The thing that you are, the grandest truth that ever could be and the quietest silence you will ever know. That space between is where yoga teaches us to go. It bends us, pushes us and stretches us to get there but get there we do.

Yoga is unyielding—like the greatest teacher you have ever known. The one who could stand steadfastly and silently even in the midst of chaos swirling all around. The one who could just be there knowing that when you were ready you would stop, sit in your seat and pay attention to the myriad lessons about to unfold before you.

Christine Quaglia is 31 years old and lives in Southwestern Ontario. She is a former English major who will always count reading and writing among her first loves. Christine is (relatively) new to Yoga and has enjoyed developing her practice even in the face of a physical disability. It is great to be sharing this piece of my story with the elephant journal audience.


Editor: Hayley Samuelson

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