Yoga is a balance between surrender and discipline.
It is the union of our mind, body, and soul within the divine.
It is a spiritual integration through self-realization that moves us past duality into cosmic consciousness—connecting us to everything.
Yoga is a way of life. It is a scientific principle given to us from the sages to alleviate the suffering that comes with the human condition.
I started my yoga journey 10 years ago. I remember having a schoolgirl crush on my first yoga instructor. She was calm and collected, insightful and wise. She provided an hour of serenity and shared knowledge beyond my understanding that kept me coming back. Over time, I began to witness my mannerisms and demeanour slowly transform.
Like any developing relationship, I had challenges holding my yoga practice. At first it was dedicated and structured, but then my favorite instructor moved locations, the cost of classes continued to rise, and I was forced to switch to practicing via DVDs.
Then, four years into my practice, I suffered a motor vehicle collision completely stopping me from any physical movement. I went from swimming, dancing, and practicing asanas (yoga poses)—to laying in bed for a month.
The lack of movement slowly unravelled my mind.
I was un-steady and un-well in all aspects of my life; physically, mentally, emotionally, and energetically. It was then I realized that I needed my yoga practice more than ever.
With time, I was put in a physical rehabilitation center and given some hope to be able to practice again one day. Four months after my accident, I was cleared by the doctors to slowly and safely return to yoga. It was at this point that conscious self-realization entered my practice. I could no longer do or hold the same poses as I could before my collision.
If I wanted to continue practicing yoga, I would need to look my ego in the eye and set it aside. I spent many of the next years listening to my body and resting in Child’s Pose. Gradually, I began to practice consistently, applying effort and easing into my Sadhana.
This liberty of self-realization slowly started to be revealed in other ways through my new efforts.
I learned that we all have the ability to right thinking, right doing, and right speaking. We all have a pure, unaffected potential living inside of us. We have a genuine purpose and the gift of our lives here on Earth.
These are some of the truths I began to understand:
>> We can awaken into freedom, remove ourselves from the physical body (ego), and come to know the true self that exists in all of us.
>> We can choose to move and act from that potential and also see it in all of those around us.
>> We can discover who we are beyond the thoughts and beliefs that we have wrapped around our lives.
>> We can find ourselves beyond the created reality in which we live.
>> We can live beyond the labels, titles, jobs, depression, or illness we have accepted.
>> We can find our eternal self—and we can live in bliss.
This transition was nothing but demanding. I remember the physical pain being stronger on many days, than my will to give grace to myself or others. I had moments filled with agony, anger, and self-pity.
Gently, I started sitting with myself and allowing myself to process these feelings outside of yoga class.
I began to welcome and honor these unpleasant emotions, as well as the joy I found myself running to. I trusted that the light and dark needed to be a part of my life. I began to move past the limiting concept that one was good and one was bad. I actively saw that these unpleasant situations in my life happened for a reason.
They were guiding me to the person I was meant to be.
Now, with every new morning, I sit in a comfortable seat and quiet my mind. I find my ego melting away. With my spine tall and my mind uncluttered, I become a direct channel for god to manifest through. Before I know it, I am in a trance. When I feel my ego creep back in, I think to myself that this deep mediation is my reward for coming inward and being honest. I am also reminded of my choice to practice nonattachment.
Coming to consciousness is a daily practice. It is a moment by moment awareness that we can only ask ourselves to do.
We can choose to have the direct experience of our thoughts, feelings, sensations, and environment. We can ask if these experiences are bringing flow to our lives and then adjust appropriately. We can recognize the experience of expansion or contraction in our bodies and then choose accordingly.
When we take the time to reflect inward, we understand why the expansion or contraction is happening in our lives. We can witness the habits and patterns that we have developed and slow down to act, rather than react.
When we are honest with ourselves, we can comprehend what it is about the situation that is affecting us. We can mindfully choose to be of benefit and flourish into our truest potential, leading us to embrace our real selves.
Living in freedom comes from accepting and moving through stress—by not attaching to ideas and plans the mind has created. Allowing us to witness life as the tides in the ocean, always knowing they will come and go.
With that, we learn to suit up and roll with the waves of the high and low tides—reminding ourselves that this too shall pass.
Bringing this union to our mind, body, and soul allows us to surrender to the discipline of life and love.
Leading us to unconditional love and compassion for all things.