FLOW W/FRED – 10.2.14 (YFD – Healing State)

My journey into Yoga over the past six or so years began with a physical practice.  I had no desire for anything other than one more good workout.  My body was tight from rock climbing when I first started and all I wanted was a fun way to stretch.  Yoga definitely was stretching, and a quality workout, without the boring staring around at others.  I never let it sink in.

It was roughly about a year and a half ago to two years ago that I finally started letting the time for meditation become significant to me personally and to my classes.  When I started to let Yoga pierce my heart rather than just my muscles, I couldn’t get enough.  I started my 200 hour journey and have never looked back.  Yoga has helped me realize that I have control.  My breath continues and acts as a beautiful metronome that brings me back when I start to drown in my own mind.  In short, I had no desire to go deeper into my own consciousness.  I wanted the superficial that came with ignorance.  I was robbing myself of a deeper connection with me.  I’ve learned that in my own uniqueness that I am pretty damn cool.  When I forget, I come right back to my breath.  And my breath allows me to lose myself in simplicity and beauty.  

Healing State

Despite the troubles of daily life, when you sit, paying attention to your breath, or attuning to a mantra, or observing the sensations in your body or the thoughts in your mind, you have the opportunity to touch, for a moment, that deep abiding state of wholeness at your core.  Coming home to this feeling every day can create a calm center, a peaceful container for the passing difficulties in your life.

Too often, we fear that if we let ourselves dive into such a deep state of consciousness, we will never emerge.  We will lose our identity or our grasp on reality.  But as we struggle to stay in control, we feel more and more separate from reality.  It is in this ability to lose ourselves that we find the fullness of who we are.  Practicing this dissolving of self during meditation enhances our ability to let go, to be more creative, to dance and sing without self-consciousness, and to fully relax.

Mark Epstein says that it is “one of the most important tasks of adulthood to discover, or rediscover, the ability to lose oneself.”  He goes on to say that when we are afraid to relax the mind’s vigilance, “we tend to equate this floating with drowning and we start to flounder.  In this fear, we destroy our capacity to discover ourselves in a new way.  We doom ourselves to a perpetual hardening of character, which we imagine is sanity, but which comes to imprision us.”

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintraub

Flow w/Fred – 6.26.14 (YFD – Svadhyaya)

Pouring the Foundation – Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara-Pranidhana

In the world of Yoga today, in addition to chanting, there are self-help books, workshops, and a wide variety of Yoga therapies – literally hundreds of ways to know the self.  The way I know best is right on my Yoga mat – through self-observation.  As your practice begins to burn away the impurities, the obstacles to your freedom, you begin to cultivate a listening – to your body, to your mind, to your emotions.  You can cultivate this listening by observing your breath and the sensations in your body as you practice.  This takes intention and attention.  It is easy to practice Yoga as though it were exercise, moving from posture to posture, with little awareness of the sensations in your body or your feeling state.  This is unconscious Yoga, and though you will feel good afterward and will receive many physiological and psychological benefits from your practice, you run the risk of energetically reinforcing old patterns and habits of mind.

When you practice Yoga with awareness of the sensations in your body, your thoughts, and your feelings, you will grow in self-awareness.  And as you grow in self-awareness, you begin to have glimpses of what it means to feel utterly and wholly connected, how your small self is not separate from the Absolute, the Self of the universe.  When you become awake, there will still be pain in your life.  Pain is inevitable, but you will no longer suffer more as a result of your pain.  You will remember that beneath the temporary separation you may be feeling, you are whole.

BOOK – “Yoga for Depression” by Amy Weintrab