In. Out. My breath was loud in my ear while sitting cross-legged on my mat. The warm, dim yoga room wrapped me in comfort as sweat dripped from my brow and landed on my closed eyelid. There was nothing on my mind but the hum of the breath, my stretched muscles relaxed after the flex and pull of a vigorous class. “In, out, let the breath flow and feel its presence within the body.” The instructor’s voice was soft, putting me in a trance. This is it, I thought. I’m finally getting it. The yogis are right. This feeling is beyond words. No description can do it justice.
I’d been practicing yoga on and off for ten years, mainly because I envied those yoga bodies, lean andstrong and flexible. Yoga was all the rage, apparently the “cool” way to get there. Joining the masses I took classes whenever they fit my schedule - usually a few times a month. Never really understanding the hype, my curiosity kept me going. “Maybe I’m going to the wrong studios? The wrong classes? Maybe it’s the instructors? It could be the type of yoga? Hot Naked yoga?” The line had to be drawn somewhere! Through my pursuit my interest did slowly increase, eventually taking class at least twice a week. Not solely for the workout, but because it did something to me. It wasn’t the exercise high felt after a long, fast run; it was deeper.
I became a yoga instructor to better understand what that something is. Not just to comprehend it but to live it. The morning after that yoga class, I read the slip of paper attached to my yogi teabag. It said, “In order to master something, teach it.” And so I did.
Five years later, nothing is mastered. In fact, the more I learn, the more questions come up. For instance, "Who masters yoga?" There’s a reason why it’s called a “practice.” We’re always practicing. The teacher is the student and the student is the teacher – we cannot separate the two.
One thing became clear early in my training: the time spent moving our bodies on the mat (asana) is only a tiny fraction of yoga. That blissful feeling at the end of each yoga class partly happens because our minds and bodies deeply connect. And the more present we are, the better we feel. A big part of yoga is exercising our mindfulness muscle. Being aware, alert and present on the mat, leads us to live more consciously off the mat. But yoga is merely one tool. There are numerous strategies we can practice to live a more mindful life - without ever stepping on the mat. Inner Light of Mine Blog will present some of those mindful strategies while offering you an opportunity to comment, add insight and ask questions.
It took practically ten-years of yoga classes before I finally made that sought after mind-body connection. Even if someone whispered the secret in my ear the very first class, it wouldn’t have mattered. I had to be ready.
My hope is that this blog inspires you to be ready. And if it finds you ready, perhaps it’ll inspire you on your journey. If not, maybe your child will be your motivation. We cannot teach what we don’t embrace. Let’s pass this forward and give our next generation a true Present.
Each blog post will offer an opportunity to explore. By presenting different components of mindfulness, highlighting its effectiveness, and suggesting useful hints I hope to awaken this ancient practice in you.
I look forward to reading your comments and added insight. Please offer your input. Give suggested topics and take this opportunity to become part of our mindful discussion.
By living mindfully we awaken to the life we’re living.
Remember to click “For the Kids” for mindfulness ideas you and your child(ren) can enjoy together.