Imagine yourself lying on your mat.
The room is silent, the air is filled with energy swirling, now settling upon your skin. The feet fall open, our sacrum’s root into the ground below us. The shoulders relax and pull toward the midline as the heartstrings shoot from within, projecting upward to the heavens.
The face is soft, the mind quiet.
We gaze between the brow lines stimulating deep intuition. Quite possibly for the first time all day a schedule does not exist, our baggage is left unchecked, and the only thing that matters is presence.
Everything is felt.
The point of meditation isn’t to completely silence our thoughts. Here we work on letting them come in and out, like the breath entering and exiting our body. Without effort we begin to find ease.
After flowing with our bodies and bringing them to rest, we begin to open to a new layer, an emotional flow. Letting everything out so we can listen to what is within.
Some practitioners find a deep sense of Isvara Pranidhana, or a connection to a source of light and divinity. Some see a stunning image of a bigger picture.
The intention to heal and restore generates within us.
Something bigger than our bodies takes time in Savasana to fix itself. In this place of openness and grounding we find a sanctuary to heal deeper wounds.
Our Samskaras (rivers in our thought patterns) overflow; we lead them to a boundless sea, letting them form new paths so we may cultivate transformation within our lives.
Many of us come to the mat for different reasons. Regardless of whether it is for health, flexibility, strength, or vitality—something inherently draws us back for more.
Some return for the workout or the buzz, some come back solely for Savasana, but almost all of us come back for the same general reason. Deep down, there is one universal truth to our practice that keeps us coming back.
It makes us feel good!
When we’re rolling out of bed or rushing in after work, that one-hour class seems to pick us up. It carries the weight of the night or day. We come for the transformation of where we were when we sat down, and who we are when we pick ourselves back up and walk out the door.
We all have aches and pains quite possibly in our bodies, and most definitely in our pasts. At some point or another we all endure suffering. On any scale, each and every one of us is missing a part of our heart.
It may be a minuscule piece, and we may have millions scattered throughout our lives, but often times our yoga mat is an E.R. for the heart.
Some days our practice is an Intensive Care Unit, others it’s a sunny day at the park, either way the healing takes a hold. Those pieces we lost along the way begin to find their way back.
If you’re like me or can relate to the yoga inspiration Rachel Brathen, so many of us come to the mat to honor our grief. As we open our bodies we begin opening our hearts.
I found yoga shortly after losing my mother and my practice has truly been a saving grace. Yoga has an insatiable way of allowing us to feel alive when parts of us (or loved ones) have passed on.
Many people try yoga for the physical benefits, and end up coming back because of something more. Something that is extremely potent, and deeply personal—an awareness of the Self.
What’s the difference between self and Self? It’s a small word with a big meaning…it’s the connection to the Soul that carries us through planks and Vinyasa flows right to the very end.
Where the last bead of sweat falls and where the last accountable breath is drawn.
Finally we arrive for the sweet surrender where we meet our maker. Where pure bliss is found.
In theory it’s said we are all one soul separated only by skin. So when we come to that boundless place of nothingness, who are we?
This is where the healing takes hold. There are no boundaries here. There’s no ego.
There’s no I am a worker, I am a yogini, I am a student, sister, lover… nothing. The list has permission to end, and we simply are.
For me personally, this is where I visit my mother. I don’t have to feel alone, I don’t have to wish incessantly that she was with me because when I‘m in this space I’m assured that she is. She always is. It’s hard to see that, and I know it will still be when I graduate, get married, and have children.
My practice leads me to a place where grief can begin to ease itself.
I am assured that beyond the pain there is unconditional love.
This is where I become mindful of she and I coming together in the lightness of our hearts. I feel her warmth surround me in this place. I hear her whisper in my ear that she is still with me.
This is where we Yoke or Unite. This is Yoga.
It’s our connection of a quiet body and mind, so that we can listen to the soul we unintentionally go through life without tending to. When there is peace we settle in and we can listen to the messages serenity has to offer.
These last few minutes of our practice add lifetimes of wisdom to our hearts and souls.
Some days, we may arrive on our mats as though it were a 100-meter dash to get there on time. Arriving on empty, somehow leaving on full.
“The universe always gives you what you need” is another common notion heard in the yoga world.
When you take those few minutes to release from the skin you lay in…explore that space. Let your intention flood your veins. Know you are just as vast and expansive as the universe. Your Self is the same uncharted territory, there is so much room to heal and explore.
Let your heart’s light shine into every depth of your being. Face all of your love here, on what is lost and yet to be found. Remember to let go and just be. Allowing every wound to bleed, allowing every wound to heal.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor Apprentice: Emma Ruffin / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wikimedia Commons