I hear this question almost every time I tell someone what I’m passionate about and what I’m investing my time in. It’s not something that can be explained in a sentence or two, at least not satisfyingly.
Out of all those innumerable mind and body practices offered today, why have I chosen yoga as my profession, as my way of life?
There is something special about yoga. Something I didn’t find while running, while practicing Tai Chi or Pilates, while swimming or while doing any other activity for that matter. Something so profoundly intimate that every attempt to describe it falls short of the actual experience.
Just this once, I will try anyway.
Every time I step on my mat and take that first sweet breath at the start of my practice, it feels like coming home. An immediate sense of presence, of my own existence in the here and now arises, greeting me with benevolence and curiosity. In an instant, I become more real, more alive. I can feel with an indescribable intensity the pure and true meaning of being. I might not be here tomorrow but right now I am.
I become aware of the air that surrounds me and infuses me. I can feel my bones and flesh, my spinning mind and my thirsty breath. Everything else loses importance. There is nothing else to do, nowhere else to be. It’s like turning the spotlight 180 degrees. Turning the gaze from the outside in. It is an opportunity for change, an offering to start anew, an invite to truly listen and learn, not about what to be and who but how to be and why.
Confronting and challenging if it needs to be, but never inciting, never defeating. Always transforming.
“Your body is the home of your soul.” ~ John O’Donohue
It is so simple and so clear. Yet, for a large part of my life I inhabited my home, but I haven’t truly lived in it. I made it look nice from the outside while ignoring what it felt like from the inside. Until, I stepped on the mat in my first ever yoga class and that rubbery surface led me to the entrance of my home and I walked in.
I found my soul patiently and silently waiting and I never felt more whole and at peace as when I laid down in savasana (the corps pose) that day. I return to this feeling when I teach and when I practice. Yoga to me is a dialogue between the mortal and the eternal—the movement a question, the pause an answer. It’s the most terrific and rewarding conversation embedded in silence, untouched by noise and chatter.
So maybe there is actually a one sentence answer to the question, “Why Yoga?”
I enjoy coming home.
To some this might not mean anything, but to me it means everything. The longing for belonging has held my heart in its grip so tight, that year after year I felt like a stranger. Where ever I went, I never arrived. I did not suspect that it would not be my feet, but my breath, that would carry me to the place where I needed to be.
Yoga is remarkably clever in its ways. It removes the distinction between home as a feeling and home as a place. It offers both at once. Coming home makes me breathe, makes me rest, it makes me listen when my soul reminds me of my best. It let’s me shed the old and invite the new. I am welcome here, not a stranger at last.
We all need clarity about where our home might be and yoga is my directory.
We all need to know our way home.
It is our home that let’s us wander without getting lost.
Author: Nevena Krups
Editor: Travis May