Original post October 2011
“When we see something correctly there is a profound peace inside us – we feel no tension, no unrest, no agitation… When our understanding is clear we feel quietness and calmness deep within us.” ~ T.K.V. Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga
As I settle onto the grass, pen and journal in hand, I am grateful to finally be here. Writing this article was the single priority today and it has taken until mid afternoon to finally begin. After a morning of missing wallets, disappointments, missed appointments and unmet expectations, I finally sit to do the one thing I intended to accomplish today – write.
I take a breath.
It took some wrestling, all me with myself, to get myself to stand up and walk away from the desk. To walk away from the smart phone that ding-ding-dings every time a new email, text or voicemail comes in. To walk away from the endless tasks that sit either in front of me or in my head waiting for my attention.
I finally did and I got outside. Now, I feel the anxious knot in my diaphragm begin to release, my shoulders start to soften. I feel like I’m coming back to myself, finally, gratefully.
Yoga teaches that the root of our suffering as human beings is avidya which means unclear perception or “incorrect comprehension.” Our desires, fears, aversions and ego, when left to their own devices, lead to negative behavior patterns which create more avidya and more avidya creates more behaviors that perpetuate our suffering. It’s a potentially endless and ruthless cycle unless we consciously practice a means to see clearly.
In my case on this day, I can see all the branches of avidya at work. Fear of not accomplishing enough, the hit to my pride should I fail, the desire for life to go the way I want it, aversion to the mishaps of daily family life. They were all there playing their part and the result was a physical, mental and emotional experience of tension, discomfort, and constriction.
It occurs to me now, sitting on the grass under an oak tree, breathing and feeling tension in my body subside, that I have my yoga practice to thank for getting me here. It is because of yoga that I have repeatedly been given the opportunity to pay mindful and non-judging attention to my body, my breath, and my inner experience.
For me, getting outside is a sure way to get out me of my head and back into my body. It’s a way for me to clear my clouded lens of perception. I think of today’s experience as another reminder that life will likely not become any calmer or less stressful no matter how much yoga I do. But I take solace in the strength of the relationship that I’ve built with myself through my practice. I trust that I can hear my inner voice when it speaks softly, it doesn’t have to scream any more like it once did to get my attention. To me this looks like less time spent suffering and more time spent connected to what really matters.
Here’s something to try:
Choose a time this week, maybe just for 5 minutes to stop everything. Put down your phone, your iPad, your iPod, your handheld device, move away from the computer, stand up and take a deep breath. Tune in to the sensations in your body. Really feel them. Take another breath and notice the tone of your thoughts. Notice any areas of tension. Now ask yourself this, “What would be the most useful action or non-action I could take right now?
Listen for the answer. You’ll know it’s right if you feel even the slightest bit of relief when considering it. Then follow your inner self’s suggestion and enjoy the result!
We’d love to hear how it goes! And don’t be surprised if that inner voice says, “Go to yoga.” Your higher self knows what’s good for you.
Wishing you wellness and peace.