“It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we're alive - to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.”
Tuesday the earth shook... literally. I was sitting on the couch, taking a moment to close my eyes, rest and meditate when suddenly I felt the couch shaking. Thinking that our big ol' tabby cat Cornelius was perched on top of the sofa scratching his chin, I cracked my eyes open only to discover that he was nowhere to be seen. I closed my eyes again but the shaking continued. "Must be Fort Jackson", I thought (there are always mysterious earth rattling things going on over there) and then I went back to my silent reverie. It wasn't until later that I discovered that an earthquake had occurred in Virginia. I was in awe that something happening hundreds of miles away could be felt so clearly right here, on my couch in SC! Joseph Martin, a geotechnical engineering professor at Drexel University explained that Tuesday's quake was the result of an ancient fault line along the Piedmont from millions of years ago that basically "shrugged" and let loose some energy.
What does all of this have to do with yoga? I think that one of the many reasons people gravitate to yoga and then stick with it is because they've experienced - on a very deep level - the shifts that take place when we consciously stretch and breathe energy into the deeper layers of the body, mind and spirit. This shifting and releasing of tension, energy and emotions can sometimes feel as epic as an earthquake or as quiet as a gentle breeze. In yoga, we quite literally release blocked energy and create new patterns for that energy to flow more freely. We often experience this as a feeling of sweet relief after a yummy practice, or perhaps an eruption of long trapped tears that takes us by surprise as we sink into savasana, or even a feeling of released anger or joy that bubbles up to the surface as we drive home after our practice. There's no doubt that the practice of shifting energy transforms us, not into something better or worse, but just different and more spacious.
Our work as practitioners is to allow these shifts and releases of physical, emotional and spiritual energy, to redirect us towards new patterns of growth and freedom. The held back tears that find their way to the surface, a shift in ideas or limiting attitudes that may lead to a new opportunity, or maybe the release of an old hurt or pain that leads to more love and compassion. Every release and shift we experience brings us closer to who and what we really are: kind, compassionate and whole. What will shake you today? What big or small releases await you? In what ways can you crack the facade and allow your true self to shine through?
Until next time...
"Go further than your mind can reach, further than your words can speak. Go further than you know, outside of your control. Break your conditioning by letting go and letting go and letting go. Like a twig plucked from a tree, carried a great distance, and woven into a crow's nest, you have no idea of your own destiny.
Keep going until there is nothing left, and you are empty and bereft. Hold that open space. Inhabit the place of not knowing until grace tugs on your awareness and says "follow me into the center of chaos and serenity. Follow me to what you've always been and always will be.
The truth of you is far beyond what you imagine, simultaneously deathless and hear to be lived, then surrendered back into the infinite." -Danna Faulds