Here’s a thought I’d like to share…
Yoga is the science and the practice of bringing the mind, body and spirit into union. Yoga is more than physical movement. It is about knowing and trusting the heart. Yoga is a process – not a product.
Yoga is the slow medicine of learning to make skillful, conscious choices – on and off the mat.
Yoga teaches patience. You can’t rush yoga. You can perform the poses quickly, but you can’t rush yoga. You can study hard, read the texts, go to workshops and retreats, but you can’t hurry the process that is yoga – no more than you can rush a season or the weather.
It is a practice of allowing, not achieving. You have to learn to love what is, stay balanced in the midst of it all, listen to your own inner voice, and be the warrior of your heart. The unfolding will happen, yoga is the practice that makes sure we are awake for it.
When I was going through chemotherapy, nine years ago, it was my yoga practice that saved my sanity. People said, “I can’t believe you keep practicing.” All I thought was, “I’m too scared not to.” Every class I taught, I’d hear myself say the things I needed to hear. Every class I took, I’d feel my body respond, my spirit lift, and my heart loosen its grip.
It was precisely because of the difficulties of cancer that I learned the true value of this embodied practice.
During chemotherapy, my body was being assaulted with chemicals, and the side effects were awful. I lost the feeling in my hands and feet and only a portion of that has ever come back. My balance went to hell in a handbasket and my endurance was less than I had ever known it to be. And yet, the mindful path of “movement connected to breath, connected to listening inwardly to what was needed at each moment,” opened me to a healing that was not available any other way. To link breath and movement and the teachings of awareness and loving-kindness settled my soul and allowed me to find some ease in the middle of the chaos, fatigue, and fear.
Yoga wasn’t a place to hide. It was a place to be found. Every practice, I’d come face to face with just what was going on in my body. Yoga helped me to not be afraid of, or feel betrayed by my body. It helped me develop compassion for my numb feet, a sense of humor about my lack of balance, and an incredibly deep understanding of how my heart and mind affected my body and how my body affected my heart and mind.
Sharing this practice became a mission for me. I wanted others to feel the transformational power of befriending oneself in a really deep way. When I told my husband I wanted to start 7:30 am Saturday Morning Yoga class, he said with a smile, “Well then, I image it will happen.” His belief in me was the oomph I needed. He didn’t say, “Why don’t you wait until you finish your chemo?” Nor did he say, “Who do really think is going to come to a class at 7:30in the morning on Saturdays?” He just said, “How can I help?” The rest is history.
Nine years later, the Saturday Morning Yoga class is still going strong! It has become so much more than a yoga class. It’s a place where a community comes together to celebrate the healing power of the union of mind, body, and spirit. It’s a sacred time of reflection and laughter, movement and stillness. It’s a welcoming place with kind people. It’s a place where beginners flourish and those that have been practicing many years still learn. I am lucky, indeed, and honored to share this incredible journey with such amazing souls.
Wishing you the patience of practice,
Thanks for all your input. I love hearing from you! Feel free to reply with comments, questions, or feedback. It comes directly to my email address, and I read each one.