Friday, August 29, 2008

That Universal Place

“Our everyday yoga practice brings us home, allows us to abide in our natural state, that universal place inside ourselves—changeless, eternal, whole—a place that contains and embraces all the emotions.”
-by Amy Weintraub, “Depression and Our Forgotten Magnificence,” Yoga International July/Aug 2002

Place of comfort: home. I put up some decorations on my window and sill to remind me of practice. It has some yoga figures, a candle and heart decorations.

Home is also inside the body. And home is a place where the body is happy.

Even though it often starts in the body, yoga reaches beyond ordinary experience. The words from the above quote, “changeless, eternal, whole” don’t describe an embodied place, those words describe a spiritual place. There is always suffering and separation in our human form. Our lives have stories that anchor us in time, and sometimes that story can seem like a burden, rather than a blessing.

Just like I bathe my body, yoga is my spiritual bath in the morning. It reminds me of my worthiness to have this experience. I am less judgmental, freer. It honors my spirit. I am lighter in the body, fresher in the mind, and more stable in the emotions.

This spiritual housecleaning is important because it allows the accumulation of positive and negative experiences to become part of the rich ground I walk on, instead of clutter in my house or boogiemen in my closet. What I am letting go of is tightness along with emotional stickiness, which can be felt in the body.

If I don’t practice I am more available to unhealthy energies and judgments in my life. Clinging to the past can block the connection to spirit. And I’m more likely to walk around feeling like a victim.

Spirit is connected, and the body desires union. When I am disconnected, ugliness comes out! The body and my past is ruling, watch out. Constricted space. Tight. No room. When I am in a place of spiritual connection I feel like my heart is big enough to hear anything. When I am not I might want to say to the stranger next to me, “Shut the “F” up!” And even though I don’t say it out loud, I make myself very uncomfortable. But when I am connected I might want to hold their hand. I am also more likely to feel compassion towards my own life situation.

The benefits of practice are so clear.

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